One person is nursing injuries in Nakaseke district following the escalation of tension between Swaibu Yiga Mukasa and more than 500 people over 1001 acres of land. The disputed land covers Balatira, Manywa, Senda, Naluvule, Mizimbo and Nzingu villages.
On Saturday evening, police officers deployed to guard Yiga's farm beat up Godfrey Ssekalongo, a resident of Manywa village as he rode past the farm together with his friend Joseph Kasozi. According to Kasozi, they were riding a motorcycle registration number UDV 069P to a borehole found on the disputed land, when two plain clothed policemen emerged from the maize garden and shot at them.
Kasozi explains that he managed to flee but Ssekalongo was arrested and tortured by the policemen in the company of Suleiman Bogere, an aide to Yiga.
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But Edward Kyaligonza, the Savannah Region Police Commander explains that Ssekalongo and Kasozi were traveling to pick maize, which they had stolen from the disputed land when the officers fire in the air in attempt to stop them.
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However, residents led by the area MP have rejected Kyaligonza's claims, saying all the officers at Kapeeka Police Station were compromised by Yiga to harass and open trumped up charges against them in order to grab their land.
At least seven residents are facing arrest for assault and malicious damage of property following complaints by Yiga. They include Steven Sseruyange, Joseph Kiwuka, Yakobo Batte, Lawrence Mabirizi and Charles Byakatonda.
Joseph Kiwuka, one of the suspects says police is using the trumped charges so as to intimidate them to stop demanding for the repossession of their land by Yiga. He also claims that Joshua Magoma, the Officer in Charge of the Nakaseke Criminal Investigation Department grilled him on why they appeared before the Land Commission and implicated Yiga for land grabbing.
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Luttamaguzi Ssemakula, the Nakaseke North Member of Parliament says that the arrest of Ssekalongo was stage managed and wants the Inspector General of Police Kale Kayihura to fire the implicated officers. He questions why Police is quick to arrest residents on flimsy charges and ignore Yiga's criminal behavior.
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Yiga hasn't yet commented as he couldn't be reached by our reporter by the time of filing this story. However, in an earlier interview Yiga claimed that he acquired the contested land legally and agreed to share the land with the tenants instead of evicting them. Recently, police rescued Yiga from being lynched by the angry residents accusing him of harassment and land grabbing. The disputed land is being investigated by Land Commission led by Justice Catherine Bamugemereire.