Three Injured in Masaka Clashes

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In short
Vincent Ssentongo, the spokesperson, Masaka United Taxi Drivers and Owners Cooperative Society, says it was unnecessary for the taxi operators from Kampala to resort to violence yet the matter could have been resolved amicably.

Three people were injured in Masaka Municipality this morning when anti-riot police opened fire to disperse clashes between taxi operators. The chaos started after a group of taxi operators in from Kampala stormed Masaka Police Station in a 15 vehicle convoy to retrieve four vehicles that were impounded for none payment of dues.

 
However, Taxi operators under Masaka United Taxi Drivers and Owner's Cooperative Society-MUTDOCS that manages revenue collection couldn't have any of this. A scuffle ensured, leading to violent clashes between the operators. The clashes prompted anti-riot Police to open fire to contain the situation, leading to the shooting of three people.
 
 
Two of the injured have been identified as Shawn Kalule and Mathias Mutebi.  The duo was hit by stray bullets. They were rushed to Masaka Regional Referral Hospital for treatment. George Kiberu, the Chairman, Masaka United Taxi Drivers and Owner's Cooperative Society, faults the taxi operators from Kampala for the clashes.
 

 
He says it was unfair for the operators from Kampala to storm Masaka and try to recover their vehicles forcefully yet they also levy dues on vehicles from Masaka plying the Kampala route. Vincent Ssentongo, the spokesperson, Masaka United Taxi Drivers and Owner's Cooperative Society, says it was unnecessary for the taxi operators from Kampala to resort to violence yet the matter could have been resolved amicably.

 

The operators from Kampala, who declined to identify themselves, said they stormed Masaka to retrieve their vehicles following a recent pronouncement by President Yoweri Museveni that he had pardoned all taxi operators. Hillary Musoke, the head of special duties in State House told a news conference last week that Museveni had written to Mike Chibita, the Director of Public Prosecution ordering him to pardon all taxi operators facing various offenses relating to their operations.




He explained that the pardon covers individuals arrested, accused and jailed for cases such as theft, tax evasion, assault and any other matters in relation to the conflict between different Taxi Operator's Association and Kampala Capital City Authority-KCCA. Musoke also claimed that the president had ordered Jennifer Musisi, the Executive Director Kampala Capital City Authority to release all commuter taxis, which were impounded for various offences from the date of the exoneration. 



However, URN couldn't establish whether the amnesty covers operators across the country or only those operating in Kampala metropolitan area. By the time of filing this story, a team of Police officers led by Maxwell Ogwal, the Southern Regional Police Commander had managed to escort the Kampala operators outside of Masaka to avoid more chaos.