Police in Kiruhura district have arrested over 10 people so far from different parts in an operation to eliminate the escalating animal theft which has raised tension among farmers and traders in the area and other districts in the cattle corridor.
This follows a directive from security minister Gen Elly Tumwiine who visited Kiruhura few days ago after the arrest of six people, including a retired reverend Richard Ampurire who was found with stolen 76 cows and 120 goats in Katengyeeto cell,Kijuma parish ,Rwemikoma s/county in Kazo county.
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 thecattle 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.
Now speaking to Mbarara Sun reporter, the Kiruhura District Police Commander-DPC, SP Patrick Omala ,says they have been carrying out more operations, adding that they are now hunting for more people suspected to have been working with Richard.
Omala who didnot disclose the names of the new arrests, to avoid jeopardizing investigations told us that the cramp down will continue until the area is free of animal theft.