PIC: Residents at the scene of the Saturday night shooting. (Credit: Kate Atuzarirwe)
KISORO - Shock, fears and uncertainty rocked the residents of a village in Kisoro district following the shooting of a businessman Stephen Semitwe.
The 40-year-old, an Irish potato dealer in Kampala and Kigali, was reportedly shot at his gate Saturday night at around 8pm local time.
Security agencies say they have recovered one of the bullet cartridges that was used to shoot at him.
This happened in Birembo village, Rutare parish in Chahi sub-county.
The suspected thugs reportedly followed him to his gate and shot at him.
Semitwe’s wife Boni Kwizagira heard the gunshots and made an alarm which attracted neighbors led by Clement Irankunda, the LC 1 of Birembo who responded and rushed him to St. Francis Mutolere Hospital in Kisoro town for treatment.
A former campaigning agent of Bufumbira South MP Sam Bitangaro, Semitwe was shot in the head, lost two fingers and his right hand was seriously injured, according to the Bitangaro.
The legislator called upon security agencies to ensure that sanity and security is restored in Kisoro district.
“This is lawlessness and I do not think it has anything to do with politics. The security should do investigations and ensure such things do not happen again,” he said.
Sources told New Vision that this is the second attempt on Semitwe’s life. The first was during last year’s campaign when unknown gunmen attacked him but he survived narrowly.
One suspect, named Silver Mutabazi, was arrested. (Credit: Kate Atuzarirwe)
According to LC3 chairperson of Chahi sub-county Erasmus Sanyu, there have been several shooting incidents in this remote area and the last such episode was last month when gunmen shot Stanley Hakizimana, also a businessman.
Sanyu, who described Semitwe as good man who is also on the village executive meeting, attributed the shooting to business rivalry and could also not rule out the issue of M23 rebels in the area.
“The M23 is a fact that Kisoro have to live with and it is also on record that some guns were recently recovered. It is not a secret. However I think Semitwe’s shooting could be as a result of business competition from people who do similar business like him of selling Irish [potatoes] in Kigali and Kampala. Irish potatoes are now a big trade here,” he said.
Innocent Mubangizi, who is in charge of the district criminal investigations department, confirmed the shooting and said police have launched investigations.
He also said police have arrested one suspect identified as Silver Mutabazi, a boda-boda rider who dropped Semitwe at his home.
However the 2nd division army spokesmen Capt. Arthur Timbaganya said the attackers are not connected to the M23 rebels that have been operating in Mt. Mgahinga Gorilla National, Mt Muhabura, Bwindi impenetrable forest national park and Mt Sabyinyo at the border of Uganda, Rwanda and Democratic Republic of Congo.
“We highly suspect that these are robbers and have nothing to do with the M23 rebels. I appeal to the community to remain calm as security agencies are investigating the originality of the shooting,” he told the New Vision on phone.