Masaka - Banyarwanda herdsmen in Uganda’s central District of Masaka are living in a state of fear after five of their members were hacked with machetes in clashes officials say are over land.
A recent case involved one Kaboroga who was left almost dead after being beaten up and hacked with machetes because his cows found their way into a neighbour’s farm.
According to eye witnesses, Kaboroga was left unconscious with deep cuts in the head and the entire body.
Hajji Harunah Numba, the chairman of Banyarwanda in Masaka, said that following that incident, unknown people came and destroyed farms, slaughtered cows and burnt homes of Banyarwanda community.
Numba said their attackers have demanded that the Banyarwanda in this area of Masaka leave and go elsewhere.
George Nsengiyunva, one of the victims who spoke to The New Times with a deep cut on his head said attackers also hacked his brother when he came to his rescue.
“The people who burnt Banyarwanda farms claim that they are fed up with them because they are foreigners and they should go back to Rwanda or they wipe them out,” Nsengiyunva told The New Times.
Hajji Harunah Numba, said when a Munyarwanda man was killed and buried in February by unknown two men from Kyanamukaka village in Masaka district, the two suspects were released by police a few days after their arrest.
“Those two men warned the Banyarwanda in the area that they are going to kill all of them,” Numba said.
In July another Munyarawanda man by the names of Kazungu was killed by the same assailants. Within the same month, another man and lady only identified as Maria were killed mysteriously by unknown people.
“The situation is terrible,” said Hajji Numba. “Banyarwanda people in the area are living in fear.”
The residents have appealed to Deputy Inspector General of Police, Assan Kasingye, Resident District Commissioner (RDC) Mr. Barnabass Bamusedhe Bwambale and other security organs to come to their rescue.
Fred Ayebare, District Police Commander (DPC) told The New Times, that the violence was between the Banyarwanda cattle keepers and cultivators because they claim that their cows destroy their crop fields.
Chairman Hajji Numba, said the hostility could partly be attributed to the upcoming 2011 Ugandan Presidential elections because the attackers claim the Banyarwanda community will vote back the incumbent Ugandan leader.
“They say that they have to scare us to go back to Rwanda before 2011,” Hajji Harunah Numba the Chairman of Banyarwanda in Masaka District said.