Police Ignored Intelligence on Rwenzori Attacks

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In short
Intelligence reports submitted to General Kale Kayihura, the Inspector General of Police-IGP and the Director of Operation on a weekly basis show that there has been simmering tension between the Bamba and Bakonzo. The reports were compiled from meetings convened by retired Col Martin Kamya, the King of Obundhigya bwa Bamba and those of Rwezururu Kingdom Ministers.

Police could have prevented the fresh Rwenzori clashes, if it had acted on the intelligence briefs from the region, URN has learnt. Following the July 2014 attacks in Bundibugyo, Kasese and Ntoroko district, in which more than 100 people were killed, police dedicated resources to gathering Intelligence in Rwenzori region.
 

Intelligence reports submitted to General Kale Kayihura, the Inspector General of Police-IGP and the Director of Operation on a weekly basis show that there has been simmering tension between the Bamba and Bakonzo. The reports were compiled from meetings convened by retired Col Martin Kamya, the King of Obundhigya bwa Bamba and those of Rwezururu Kingdom Ministers.
 
 
One of the intelligence reports authored on 22 February 2016, shows that Kamya met more than 500 people at Buganikere Village, Miranda Sub County in Bundibugyo District to plan chaos in case Jolly Tibamanya, the incumbent LC V chairperson loses polls.
 
 
"In the same meeting, the King told the gathering that on 24/02/2016 should Tibamanya Jolly fail to win the LC5 chairperson seat, violence must immediately begin against supporters of Ronald Mutegeki," reads the intelligence brief handed to Kayihura.
 
 
Three days after the intelligence was gathered, clashes broke out between the supporters of Tibamanya and Ronald Mutegeki, the National Resistance Movement party candidate and winner of the LC V chairperson elections. 12 people were killed in the clashes and more than 50 others were injured. Thirty houses were set ablaze and more than 100 banana plantations slashed down.
 
The attacks displaced more than 300 people from their homes in Bugombwa and Mukundugu villages forcing them to seek refuge at Bundibugyo police station and Bubugwanga transit camp, which is 5 kilometers away from Bundibugyo town. 

In a statement released by Rev Geoffrey Kyomuhendo, the spokesperson of Obudhingiya bwa Bamba, Lt Col Kamya agrees that held a meeting on 22nd February at the said venue to mobilize his subjects to continue turning up in big numbers for voting exercises.
 
 
He however notes that, "some opportunists together with the already angry Bakonzo decided to misreport the real intentions of the meeting, saying it was convened to plan post-election violence."

However, while some of the implicated people are a common fixture in the intelligence reports, nothing was done to reprimand them. Police spokesperson, Fred Enanga couldn't explain the failure by Police to act on the intelligence brief, when asked by our reporter why nothing was done.
 
 
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Over the weekend, Kayihura and Internal Affairs Minister, Rose Akol blamed the attack of security officers in Kasese on a militia linked to Rwenzururu Kingdom. In the first attack, about twenty civilians reportedly armed with pangas, knives and spears attempted to attack a UPDF patrol vehicle in Kikonzo cell in Hima Town Council, Kasese district on Thursday. Two attackers were shot dead by a UPDF officer.

Five people were shot dead at Kasenyi trading center in Buhuhira Sub County on Friday for attempting to disarm police officers. The group had reportedly grabbed a machine gun from one of the police officers.  However, in April 2015, police had intelligence information showing that there was a plot by youths under Yiira United Rapid Force-YURF to carry out fresh attacks in Rwenzori region. 

An intelligence report seen by URN shows, that the group had intentions of attacking Kasese, Bundibugyo and Ntoronko districts with the aim of creating Yiira Republic. At the time, Enanga told URN that police had taken action to ensure that the militia does not make any attacks.

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Months later, more reports continued to reveal where the trainings were taking place, the fact that the militias were using the uniform of the Rwenzururu royal guards and those behind the recruitment. Apart from promises of increased deployments, none of the persons mentioned in the intelligence reports was ever questioned or arrested.

On Monday, Thembo Kitsumbire, the acting Rwenzururu Kingdom Premier dismissed Kayihura's claims that the attackers are linked to the kingdom.  He said the tension in Kasese district is a result of the disputed Hima Town council LC 3 elections, which has nothing to do with the Kingdom.

 

About the author

Dear Jeanne
Dear Jeanne is a URN journalist based in Kampala. Jeanne has been a URN staff member since 2014.

Jeanne started out as a political and crime reporter for NBS television in 2010. She went on to become a news director at the station before leaving in 2012 to join The Daily Monitor as an investigative reporter in 2012.

Jeanne is ambitious to improve her investigative reporting skills. Jeanne’s focus for much of her five year career has been to report on crime and security.