Fear as panga-wielding thugs ambush Masaka, hack 15 dead

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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 Bijambiya because of their method of killing using machetes started way back in 2016 and in that episode over 30 people lost their lives.

In efforts to end the killings in  2018 Gen. Kale Kayihura the former IGP camped in the 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 as he visited the area.

However, 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 has been born.

These never reveal their intent to kill, but on breaking into  homes, they  hack to death occupants vanish  without  taking possession of any items , 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 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 Kitatta,  the Lwengo LC5 boss.

Greater Masaka regional police spokesperson, Muhammad Nsubuga however said only nine people have died in the past two weeks .

He attributed the deaths to land conflicts, domestic violence and robbery.

Nsubuga however noted that police and other security agencies have stepped up operations to deal with the assailants.

"Foot and motor patrols are going to be a daily routine, "he said.

He however cited challenges like withholding of information about the assailants by locals which he said has given police setbacks in investigating these cases.

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