Kabarole Attacks Haunt Residents One Year Later

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In short
In November, armed youth groups of Esyomango syObusinga, a youth group associated with Rwenzururu Kingdom terrorised residents in Karangura sub county. They carried out illegal night foot patrols, collected taxes in form of chicken, goats, and money and food items from the residents. The attacks in Kabarole culminated in the raid on the palace of the Rwenzururu King in Kasese district on November 26 and 27 in which more than 100 people died and Mumbere and hundreds of his royal guards arrested.

Residents of Karangura sub county in Kabarole are still struggling to cope with the effects of last year's armed attacks orchestrated by youths loyal to Rwenzururu King Charles Wesley Mumbere.

In November, armed youth groups of Esyomango sy'Obusinga, a youth group associated with Rwenzururu Kingdom terrorised residents in Karangura sub county. They carried out illegal night foot patrols, collected taxes in form of chicken, goats, and money and food items from the residents.

The insecurity caused several residents to abandon their homes, while schools, businesses and health facilities closed. The closed schools were Kamabale and Kinyankende primary schools in Mugusu Sub County, and Mitandi Primary School and Karangura Secondary School in Karangura Sub County. Nyabuswa Health Centre III remained closed for a month. 

At the height of the attacks, the Uganda People's Defence Forces- UPDF under the command of the then Second Division Commander, Major General Peter Elwelu, raided training camps in Nyabuswa village on top Kamabare hills .During the raid, several youths were killed and guns recovered.

However a year later, the attacks are still etched in the memories of some residents. 

Alfred Kule, a businessman in Nyabuswa trading centre, says that although life returned to the area, he will never forget the attacks that lasted for a week. He explains that the unrest disrupted his business forcing him to close shop and flee with his family for seven days.

Kule, who is also a coffee farmer says that when he returned, his coffee produce had been stolen and his shop broken into. 

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Rachael Bbira, a resident of Mitandi trading centre says that on the night of the attacks, she took her sister to Nyabuswa Health Centre III for delivery. However, she was shocked to find the facility closed after the workers had fled for fear of being attacked. 

Bbira says that she was forced to take her sister to Bukuku Health Centre III which is 20 kilometres away.

David Kasoro, a resident of Kamabale A village says that even after calm returned to the area, residents abandoned their gardens and remained locked in their houses for fear of being attacked, which caused food shortage in the area. 

When URN reporter visited Nyabuswa trading centre on Tuesday, there was presence of the police. Unlike in the past when there was one police post, two other police posts have since been established in the area. 

At the beginning of this year, local leaders and the police in Karangura also launched a community policing drive. 

Moses Mugisa, the Karangura Police Community liaison officer, says that they educate the communities on how to be vigilant and report all forms of crime or insecurity to the police. 

He however says that some residents fear to give information to police.  

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The attacks in Kabarole culminated in the raid on the palace of the Rwenzururu King in Kasese district on November 26 and 27 in which more than 100 people died and Mumbere and hundreds of his royal guards arrested.

Mumbere and his supporters, numbering about 150, were charged with several counts of murder and terrorism among others. Mumbere and several of his officials have since never set foot in Kasese, as they are restricted to stay within Kampala as part of their bail conditions.

 

About the author

Emmanuel Kajubu
Emmanuel Kajubu is proud to have been the first Ugandan journalist to write in depth pieces about the Tooro Kingdom institution. His knowledge of the inner workings of the Tooro Kingdom is what made him privy to the splits in the royal family. These splits almost challenged Tooro Omukama Oyo Nyimba Iguru's reign.

Culture, agriculture and the environment are just two areas of many of interest to Kajubu. As long as he has held a pen, Kajubu has also written about public policy, health and crime.

Kajubu is keen on impacting his society not just as a writer but also a trainer and mentor. Bundibugyo and Ntoroko districts fall under his docket. Kajubu has been a URN staff member since 2008.