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Namamabasa Residents, Pastors Clash Over Land

Shouting on top of their voices, the angry residents accused Pastor Musai of illegally occupying their land and deploying a militia to terrorize them. Police used live bullets and teargas to disperse the angry residents and restore calm. He said the group has on several occasions put up illegal roadblocks to terrorize the people entering or leaving the sub county.
16 Jul 2019 12:54

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There is a dispute between residents of Namabasa Sub County in Mbale and Pastor, Michael Mukhono alias Musai over land.

The disputed land, which measures over 200 acres, hosts Mt. Elgon Believer’s Baptist Independent Mission church. On Monday morning, more than 300 angry residents stormed the church and pelted worshipers with stones leading to clashes.  

Shouting on top of their voices, the angry residents accused Pastor Musai of illegally occupying their land and deploying a militia to terrorize them. Police used live bullets and teargas to disperse the angry residents and restore calm.     

Two people sustained serious injuries in the clash. They are Michael Gimunye and another only identified as Sam. The duo is admitted at Mbale Regional Referral Hospital.  Some residents claim that unidentified people had roamed the village the previous night inciting residents to attack the church and harm Musai for allegedly taking over their land.

Stephen Wayisi, a resident of the area blamed the chaos on Pastor Musai who he claimed has trained a militia, which terrorizes residents. “The insecurity caused by Pastor Musai is quite terrible and wounds inflicted to a number of residents are terrible. The man came to this area as a pastor and we overwhelmingly welcomed him. He has since turned against the people he found here,” Wayisi said.

Mohammed Mpyangu, another resident claimed that one time he sometime back kidnapped by Pastor Musai’s men. He says their pleas to police have been ignored. 

John Magulu, the Namabasa Zone Willage LC 1 chairperson, told police on Monday that the tension between residents and the pastor is forcing people to migrate to other areas.

Rehema Wandeka, Doho Parish councilor, says several attempts to have dialogue with Pastor Musai have hit a deadlock as he undermines the local authorities. 

She claims that Musai has established a parallel local council administration unit with a fully-fledged executive.

Halid Sebujjo, the Namabasa Sub County LC III Chairperson, accuses the pastor of intimidating that community with threats of killing them should they refuse to surrender their land to him. 

He wants Pastor Musai to relocate his church or return to Bududa where he was also allegedly chased because of his conduct.                  

Pastor Vincent Watsosi, a member Mt. Elgon Believer’s Baptist Independent Mission church, says trouble with the neighboring community started on Sunday when residents decided to relocate their families and livestock from the disputed land.

He says at around 1am on Monday they heard resident blowing trumpets until morning. According to Watsosi, they received information that the community was preparing to attack them at night but they struck in the morning,    

 

//Cue in: Basengula embuzi....       

  

Cue out: Kumakya Kuno…”//      

   

Livingstone Wafutu, the Executive Secretary Mt. Elgon Believers Baptist independent Mission, accuses police of taking sides in the dispute. He says they acquired the disputed land to host more than 5000 people from Bududa.   

 

//Cue in: one day…             

Cue out: thousand people… //           

Fred Ahimbisibwe, the Mbale District Police commander has asked residents to remain calm, saying the situation will be handled. He said the illegal camp at Mt. Elgon Believers Baptist independent Mission will be dismantled to bring sanity in the community.       

        

//Cue in: In a peaceful community….  

       

Cue out: Will be dismantled…”//

Pastor Musai has been at loggerheads with the community in Namabasa for over 2 years.