FORT PORTAL-Police in Fort Portal has launched investigations into the alleged shooting of two people in Karago town council on Monday morning over land wrangles.
One person was shot and another one injured by the officer in charge of Bukuku police station in Burahya County after the two resisted an eviction by one of the residents in the area who was claiming part of the land where they had settled.
The officer in charge of the police station who was identified as Gabriel Kamara shot and killed Abdul Tugume and injured his brother Richard Atugunza who is currently nursing gun wounds at Virika Hospital in Fort Portal municipality.
Samuel Byaruhanga, the LC1 chairman for Bulela A cell in Kitarasa ward called the police after the two brothers failed to settle a land issue with one of their neighbours. The two had attempted to lynch a group of villagers who were claiming part of the land.
The scuffle started on Sunday when a team of about 20 men who had camped at Kitarasa, one of the villages started destroying their property according to the locals.
"Part of the land which the two brothers have been claiming was sold about 18 years ago by their late father and now the owner wanted to occupy his land but they denied him access to the land and that is how Police got involved," said Florence Kabarangira a resident of Kitarasa.
Kabarangira said when the village elders convened a meeting to resolve the dispute Tugume and his colleague turned violent and threatened to lynch them which prompted the LC 1 chairman to call the Police.
"During the scuffle the two who were armed with a spear and a panga attempted to lynch the landlord and his men but Police intervened and rescued him. Abdul who was holding a spear stabbed the police officer and in retaliation the police officer opened fire at them killing Abdul and injuring his brother," Kabarangira said.
Lydia Tumushabe, the Rwenzori west regional police spokesperson confirmed the incident and said the two could have been under the influence of drugs.
"Samuel Byaruhanga, the area LC1 chairman reported a case of drug abuse by some of his residents in the area the officer in charge Bukuku Police Station, AIP Gabriel Kamala and SPC Yosia Mwangusya responded.
On reaching there they were attacked by two brothers Atugonza Richard armed with a spear and Tugume Abdul who had a panga and injured the OC on the tummy in self defence he shot Tugume in the leg now admitted at Virika Hospital and Atugonza was shot in the left shoulder and died a few minutes later," Tumushabe said.
Statistics at the office of the Resident District Commissioner, Kabarole indicate that more than 70 incidents of land wrangles have been registered since the beginning of this year.
Several people are claiming ownership of large chunks of land and are threatening to evict current occupants of the land, who are also claiming ownership.
In Harugongo, Barnabas Musinguzi says his 10-acre piece of land was grabbed by unknown people from Mityana district, who are now constructing a house and have turned the other part of his land into a farm.
Musinguzi, who is a businessman in Kyegegwa town council, says he was shocked to find his land fenced off and yet he is in possession of a land title.
Grace Businge another resident of Harugongo village, says that they have appealed to the local leaders to help them, but nothing has been done about it. She says they are living in fear because once they are evicted, they have nowhere to go.