A senior army officer, a district police commander and district internal security officer (DISO) in Ntoroko district have been arrested following the death of two civilians on Friday.
Lt. Col. Richard Muhangi, the Commanding Officer of the 3rd Mountain Battalion under 2nd Division in Western Uganda, DPC Ntoroko ASP Gerard Atuhaire, DISO Brian Babishanga and SPC Abdul Kyalimpa were arrested on Saturday.
The army officer has been detained at UPDF General Army headquarters at Bombo while the others are currently detained at Fort Portal Police Station on allegations of murder and attempted murder.
Army spokesperson Brig. Richard Karemire confirmed the arrest of the officer.
“The UPDF has detained Lt. Col. Richard Muhangi the commanding officer of the 3rd Mountain Battalion under 2nd Division. He is a suspect in the Butangama sub-county shooting incident,” Karemire said.
The army said two civilians, Erasmus Irumba from Nyakasenyi and Siet Kanyoro from Budiba, were found dead and Col Muhangi himself injured on the leg and arm. Muhangi is currently admitted at the Bombo military hospital where he is receiving treatment.
“The cause of the scuffle is under investigation but preliminary investigation point to an operation by the security officers to apprehend illegal arms buyers.
"We convey our deepest condolences to the families of the bereaved families and reiterate UPDF’s total commitment to a professional and disciplined force,” said Karemire.
The army spokesperson also said that both the DPC and DISO who were with the commander at the time of the incident, had also been arrested.
The army also arrested Muhangi’s bodyguards Luke Dhadalamu, Ivan Bakasaba and Private Irema Saulo Balimpa.
Police spokesperson Asan Kasingye confirmed the officers had been arrested but referred us to the Rwenzori Regional Spokesperson Lydia Tumushabe.
Tumushabe told New Vision that the officers were acting on a tip that the deceased suspects wanted to buy guns, and deployed accordingly.
“They then laid an ambush using 10 police guns and six loaded magazines to get the suspects,” she said.
She said security arrested the suspects but then there was a scuffle and Irumba and Kanyoro were shot dead as they attempted to flee.
Tumushabe said they recovered several exhibits at the scene of crime which included a motorcycle, the ammunition which they intended to buy, spent cartridges and a private vehicle belonging to the DPC.