12 June 2018

Uganda: MP Fungaro in Hiding Over Abiriga Chaos

Photo: The Observer
Arua Municipality MP Ibrahim Abiriga’s bullet-riddled car.

Obongi County MP Hassan Kaps Fungaro on Sunday night abandoned his dinner and fled from Pacific Hotel after a tip-off that he was supposed to be arrested over the chaos that engulfed Arua town upon the arrival of the bodies of MP Ibrahim Abiriga and that of his brother-cum-escort Saidi Buga Kongo.

Mr Fungaro, speaking from an undisclosed location, told Daily Monitor yesterday that he was tipped off by a confidant that an overnight security meeting blamed him for mobilising the population and instigating the Sunday mayhem.

Private property, including cars and motorcycles, were destroyed and Abiriga's belongings were also vandalised at his Anyafiyo residence by charged electorates.

They flashed V-sign, associated with the opposition Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) party, of which MP Fungaro is an official.

The lawmaker said he was accused of masterminding the chaos and security wanted to pick him from the hotel on Adumi Road, prompting him to abandon food and his green Land Rover at the hotel.

Denial

"I participated well in the planning meetings (for Abiriga's burial) at his home, with family members. I don't know why I am being blamed and they want to arrest me," he said.

The Arua Resident District Commissioner, Mr Peter Debele, who attended the overnight emergency security meeting, said he was not aware of the planned arrest but added: "Fungaro should go to police if he wants to be arrested."

Ms Josephine Angucia, the police spokesperson for West Nile, said: "We are investigating the issue where Fungaro is being mentioned for the violence that happened."

The MP did not show up at Abiriga's burial as he initially planned.

The NRM party secretary general, Ms Justine Lumumba, said the chaos was instigated by an MP subscribing to the Opposition.

"One MP from West Nile who attended the family meetings and went on the side to mobilise people [caused the chaos]. Where was the intelligence [not] to pick up that information (of mobilisation)?" she asked.

Uncertainty about the security situation in Arua Town yesterday prompted organisers to remove Abiriga's body from his urban residence and drive it at dawn to his ancestral home in Rhino Camp, 64km east of Arua Town, where he was buried.

Separately, State Internal Affairs Minister Mario Obiga Kania said the Sunday violence was "uncalled for, unfortunate" and "we treat it just as a past event".

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