A 51-year-old man in Kabare Sector, Kayonza District, was on Monday night lynched by angry residents over alleged theft of bananas.
Elias Uworanubugingo of Cyarubare cell was attacked by an angry mob at night after he was allegedly caught stealing from a banana plantation, according to the Eastern Region Police spokesman, IP Emmanuel Kayigi.
“It was mob justice. One man was killed and we managed to arrest three suspects. They are in police custody, partly for their own protection. Investigations continue,” he said.
The incident happened at around 11:30pm on Monday night, when the suspect was intercepted in a banana plantation.
Kayigi warned residents against mob justice, noting that the culprits would be heavily punished.
“It’s absolutely wrong for people to take the law into their hands,” he said.
The suspects include a father and son, now held at Kabarondo Police station.
They allegedly cut the deceased’s ligaments after catching him.
“The father and his son guard their banana plantation at night, and on the fateful day, they caught the victim stealing. With the support of neighbours, they beat him to death. As Police, we will allow justice to prevail,” said Kayigi.
In an emergency meeting convened after the incident, Kayonza mayor John Mugabo, also warned residents against mob justice.
“This is a country ruled by the law; you cannot usurp the role of courts to sentence a suspect to death. It cannot be tolerated…we are going to work with all stakeholders to bring those who orchestrated the crime to justice. This should be the last incident in this community,” he told the residents.
Meanwhile, a number of residents who talked to The New Times on condition of anonymity said they had run out of patience due to rampant thefts.
“We condemn mob justice, but at the same time people do it because they are fed up with thefts. Our cows, goats, crops are stolen daily…when we take the suspects to the Police, they are released in a few days. The argument is always lack of evidence…we wonder what evidence is bigger than catching somebody red-handed,” said one irate resident.