“Balubasa was cut with a machete on the head and he is now hospitalized."
PIC: Patrols are a routine inside Mt. Elgon National Park, like this park ranger seen here on guard in this file picture
TORORO - UPDF soldier Lance Corporal Venezio Balubasa has been hospitalized at Tororo Hospital after being hacked during an ambush at Kapsegek, Bukwo near the Uganda-Kenya border.
One of the attackers is understood to have been shot dead.
Attached to the Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA), Balubasa was part of a team that last Thursday laid an ambush following intrusion into Mt. Elgon National Park by people whose motive is yet to be established.
As the soldiers apprehended one of the two intruders, his colleagues sprang from the bush and hacked Balubasa.
The other soldiers immediately responded by shooting the assailant Simon Mutai dead.
“Balubasa was cut with a machete on the head and he is now hospitalized,” said Jossy Muhangi, UWA public relations officer.
“He is out of danger but doctors are still holding him at Tororo Hospital.”
She said one of the attackers identified as Leonard Kiplagat was arrested and is being held at Mbale Police Station for further investigations to establish the motive of the attackers.
“The Police are still interrogating him and could not divulge details,” Muhangi told New Vision.
Meanwhile, this incident is one of the many challenges UWA is facing as it manages 10% of Uganda’s landscape that is covered with protected areas across the country, according to Andrew Seguya, the executive director at UWA.
He said the population is increasing yet the land is not expanding, pointing out that this is the biggest challenge.
“We have to get a way of becoming productive off the land,” he said, adding that this is the way how land is going to be secured for conservation.
Seguya was speaking last Friday at a ceremony organised to introduce Professor Emphraim Kamuntu, the Minister of Tourism and Antiquities and Godfrey Kiwanda, the State Minister for Tourism to the staff of UWA.
Kamuntu said conservation and tourism were going to play a big role in transforming the country into a middle income economy by 2020. He said the sector was contributing about 10% to GDP and also providing employment directly and indirectly.
Kiwanda said they will support UWA in its quest to curb encroachment and that they should endeavour to provide solutions where they have challenges with communities within two years.
The minister said this was when Government officials are going to be effective in intervening and ending such wrangles before politicking takes over and dominates national debates ahead of the 2021 elections.