Police in Kiruhura has in custody, a retired church servant, identified as Ampurire RichardRwakishaija, together with five others on charges on being in possession of stolen 76 cows and 120 goats.
The five others are; Mwesigye Samuel, KatungiMorgan, Bagaya Alex, Nahamya Paul and another only identified as Kadogo alleged to be labourers of the ‘man of God’, Ampurire Richard.
The arrest of the group last week came after a whistle blower, identified as Fred Bekiita tipped off people who had lost their cattle from the family of Rwakikaaya in Kazo sub-county, that he had seen them enter cows in Ampurire’s farm, located in Katengyeto cell, Kijuma parish, Rwemikoomasub-county in Kazo county-Kiruhura district.
It is understood that Ampurire was renting his farm to herders who would pay him money.
On a tip off from the whistle blower, although they did not have a clue the cows entered were theirs, the men proceeded to the farm, but were unfortunately denied sight of the cows by the labourers of the farm.
This forced the men not identified yet to go and call Kijuma police in an attempt to force their way into the farm.
Even with the police in place, it wasn’t easy to access the farm, as the in charge labourers put up a spirited fight against the police, who later over powered them and entered the farm, while also in the process arrested them, not leaving their boss.
Now in the farm, accruing from numerous complaints from the community regarding the theft of their animals, police decided to take all the animals to the cattle market in Kazo, to allow the public come and view, to ascertain whether there could be some of their cows.
On inviting the community, 22 cows were identified by their owners out of 76, 8 were counter claims between the community andAmpurira’s family, while the rest by filling this story, were still awaiting continued public viewing at Kazo livestock market where they are being kept by the security.
On the side of the goats, out of the 120 goats, only 3 have been identified by the owner, Laban Kanyohora, who is also the Kiruhura district councilor for Rwemikooma sub-county. The remaining 117 goats also await public viewing and identification at Kazo livestock market.
The prime suspect, Ampurire Richard is believed to had worked as a priest for a year in a church thought to be in Sembabule, before he opted out, on the idea that e wanted to continue with academic studies. The church has not yet neither acknowledged him or denied knowing him.
By the time of writing this story, the six suspects were still being detained at Kazo police station, although there were plans to transfer them to Kiruhura district main police station.
Speaking to Mbarara sun reporter, the Rwiziregion police spokesperson, Samson Kasasira said the group will be charged with theft, after finding them with stolen animals.
Kasasira urged the public to be extra vigilant especially in the face of escalating animal theft in the region.
Kasasira further said Kiruhura being a predominantly cattle keeping district, it makes it a target for thieves.
In April this year, Police in Mbarara arrested sixsuspected cattle thieves in an operation during Easter period, after finding them selling cow meat stealthily and distributing it to different parts of Greater Ankole region.
The suspects ; Stephen Tibategyeza, PascaTibamanya , Ssempera Denis Katende , SimonMusinguzi, Mutasa Swaib and Robert Rwakiniinga were arrested in the town of Kiirumba in Isingirowhile distributing the meat, and were thought to had slaughtered animals from Mbarara and Kiruhura districts.
The vice becomes worse now with the new entrant from the church.