Government has linked the series of gruesome murders in the greater Masaka area to acts of terrorism.
“Whatever the motive, the intended effect is to cause fear, terror and apprehension in the public. They use the same killing method of hitting the victims on the head with blunt objects. The killings are also indiscriminate,” the State Minister for Internal Affairs, Gen David Muhoozi told parliament on Tuesday.
The minister was briefing parliament on the situation in the greater Masaka region where at least 28 people have been killed by machete wielding men who attack villages at night.
According to the junior Internal Affairs Minister, whereas the attackers don’t take anything from their victims, despite killing them, they use a similar pattern that he said has been reported in several villages where the attacks have happened.
“The pattern of killing is also similar where timings are mostly between 20:00Hrs-22:00Hrs of night, by waylaying the victims and attacking vulnerable people in houses. They use motor-cycles and foot, to move and this was testified by some survivors.”
Gen Muhoozi also told parliament that in some cases, the attackers have robbed the phones of their victims but was quick to note that they only use the sets to communicate to the relatives of the victims.
He however noted that security has responded to the attacks leading to the arrest of a number of suspects involved in the murders.
According to the minister, joint operations with police in small squads manning snap check points and searching for suspects has been implemented.
“There has been apprehension and checking of motor cycles and motor vehicles moving at night for any suspected individuals. There is intensified intelligence for any related lead information whereas the joint security team is also undertaking regular community mobilisation meetings aimed at restoring confidence among the locals in the community and enhancing information flow,” he said.
“Senior security leaders have been tasked by the National Security Council to go to the affected areas an on spot assessment and to work out an effective plan of action with the area district security agencies in order to decisively deal with this insecurity, bring the culprits to book, and return normalcy to the affected areas.”
MPs rap govt
Despite an earlier warning by the Deputy Speaker of Parliament against politicizing the matter, MPs rapped government for failure to contain the situation.
“If there was a protest in Kampala all army Generals including commandos from Somalia would be in Masaka to query the protests because to them, protection of the regime is more important than protecting the lives of people,”Kira Municipality MP Ibrahim Ssemuju Nganda said.
“There are areas in Uganda where people who are grazing have guns. In other areas where people are being butchered and those whose duty is to protect them are here in Kampala sleeping.”
The Deputy Speaker was however quick to warn MPs against playing the tribalism card .
Nakawa West legislator, Joel Ssenyonyi said it is appalling that the spate of murders in Masaka has returned, the same having occurred over three years ago in the same area.
Makindye West MP, Allan Ssewanyana on the other hand asked government for assurance on compensating the families of locals who lost loved ones and those injured during the attacks as directed by President Museveni.
“I invite this House to consider sending the Committee on Defence Masaka because i think the community will open up to the committee,” said Leader of Opposition, Mathias Mpuuga.