Over a dozen Uganda People’s
Defence Forces soldiers under the 71st Battalion in Okidi Detach in Atiak
Sub-county, Amuru District are homeless after a devastating fire razed down
The fire reportedly began on Friday
last week from a sugarcane plantation at Atiak Sugar Factory but escalated on Sunday before spreading to the army detach.
The army detach strategically situated at the Uganda-South Sudan
border offers security along international frontierand at the Sugarcane
plantation belonging to Horyal Investments Holding Company Limited.
personnel Monday revealed that a total of 14 grass thatched huts belonging to
the soldiers and undisclosed properties were burnt down in the blaze.
Amuru Resident District
Commissioner Osborn Oceng confirmed to Uganda Radio Network in an interview on
Monday that some structures at the military detach were consumed by the fire.
Oceng however faults the management
of Atiak Sugar Factory for their reluctance to ensure that fire breaks are created
to ease fighting the fire by the Police.
He notes that the persistent outbreak
of fire at the plantation over the years continues to cost the government
billions of shillings in losses in their Private-Public Partnership with Horyal
Investment Holding Company Ltd.
The government owns a 40 percent
share in the Atiak Sugar factory with the rest of the 60 percent belonging to
business mogul Amina Hersi Moghe and her son, Mohamoud Abdi Mohammed.
//cue in: “I advised the…'//
Cue out:..which is closer,”//
Oceng also notes that there was a
deliberate attempt by the Sugar factory management to hide the magnitude of
the damage caused by the fire that has been raging since December 10.
He notes that almost a quarter of
the sugarcane plantation has since been razed down adding that close to half of
the plantation may be down by end of Monday if the fire wasn’t put out.
//cue in: “I called the…//
Cue out:…plantation was done.”//
The Fourth Division Commander
Brig Bonny Bamwiseki however downplayed the fire incident on the military
detach saying it could be an “old and abandoned detach”.//
“Maybe those (detaches) are the
ones that were abandoned because we don’t have permanent detaches. Most of the
time, they (UPDF soldiers) just go, stay there and move away” says Brig.
The Aswa River Region Police Spokesperson
David Ongom Mudong on Monday said the police had opened inquiries under SD ref:
15/12/12/2021 at Atiak Police Station to investigate the cause of the inferno.