At least fifteen people have been hacked to death in Districts of Lwengo, Bukomansimbi, and Masaka as machete-wielding men started a new episode of attacks, three years after they were thwarted.
The events have sparked fear and agony amongst locals in the different areas of greater Masaka. The group baptised as ‘Bijambiya’ because of their method of killing using machetes started way back in 2016 and in that episode over 30 people lost their lives.
These never reveal their intent to kill, however, they would break homes open, hack to death occupants and dismiss themselves minus taking possession of any items attached to that home, be it money.
At Kamenyamiggo village, Kiingo Sub-County in Lwengo District, for instance, residents explain how the assailants attacked them in 2018 and claimed five lives in a few hours of the night.
Annet Namuddu, a resident narrates that the attackers ambushed the village in the wee hours swinging axes and pangas over the neck or whoever they found.
“That attacker even my two sons were injured to the extent one of them got damaged on the skull, “Namuddu said.
In efforts to end the killing of innocent Ugandans, in 2018 Gen. Kale Kayihura the former IGP, and President Museveni camped in this area to command a joint operation by police and other sister security agencies which later resulted in the arrest of Muhamad Kiddawalime and Musa Galiwango who were the ringleaders of the machete-wielding gang.
“These are just petty criminals we shall arrest them soon, ” said President Museveni while addressing locals at Kisojo village Bukomansimbi district.
Three years after the arrest of Musa Galiwango and the death of Muhamad Kidawalime who was killed in the police operation at Resty Nakyambade’s home in Kalungu, another gang of machete-wielding men have been born.
In just two weeks, the unknown attackers have attacked several villages and killed over fifteen people including retired army officers.
Kalya Vicent and Kabanda John both retired UPDF officers, Dumba Joseph resident of Mayira village, Kawesi Godrey and Nkaka both Nakateete village in Lwengo district are among those who have been recently killed in fresh attacks.
Critics have pointed out loopholes in security that could have given criminals a chance to terrorize Masaka again. Kizito Nsubuga, a retired UPDF officers says poor mutual understanding between police and locals due to unprofessionalism by men in uniform has denied police a chance to have access to information hence giving criminals a chance to terrorize Masaka again.
Elected and opinions leaders have expressed their concern about the loss of peoples’ lives due to attacks by machete-wielding men.
In an effort to combat this rising criminality, Ibra Kitatta the Lwengo LC5 chairman has issued out strict guidelines to all village leaders in the district.
“We shall not hesitate to arrest any village leader who is neglecting his job, ” said Kitata, the Lwengo LC5 boss.
Despite many rising unanswered questions from the general public to those responsible for the security of this region, we were unable to get a comment from police as our phone calls to those concerned were unanswered.