Three people lost their lives, and another escaped with severe injuries over the weekend after being pushed off a cliff during a fight over cows in Sironko district.
The dead have been identified as Livingston Wandega, 50, the Local Council I chairperson of Muduga village, Bumasifwa parish in Legenya sub county; Woyega, 27, a resident of Mabono village, Kiboboyi parish in Legenya sub county; and Timothy Kissa, 13, a pupil at Bumasifwa primary school in primary six class.
Reports indicate that on Friday last week, unidentified people raided Stephen Namusi's home in Legenya sub-county and stole his cow. Namusi reported the incident to Bumasobo police post. Police officers used a sniffer dog that picked the scents and tracked down Samson Wanzila's home in Nakilulu village, Masungu parish, Bumasobo sub county.
However, Wanzila had already fled from home, but the authorities found fresh beef at his residence, which they seized as evidence. On Saturday, several locals from Namusi's family, who had lost their animals, stormed Wanzila's residence and took two animals in retaliation.
According to Stephen Kimasi, the LC III chairperson of Bukyabo sub county, a group residents from Bukyabo sub county in Bulambuli district armed with machetes, stones, sticks, and bricks intercepted the retaliating group from Legenya Sironko at Busasagi village, Buchabo parish in Buchabo sub county.
A fight erupted as they attempted to reclaim their animals, resulting in three people being pushed and falling off a cliff while others fled the scene. Rogers Taitika, the Elgon region police spokesperson, confirmed the incident, stating that the bodies of the deceased were recovered at the bottom of the cliff.
The bodies were taken to Mbale City mortuary for post-mortem examinations before being released to their respective families for burial. Taitika affirmed that efforts were underway to apprehend those who engaged in the altercation with residents from neighboring Bulambuli.
Alfred Salim, a parent of one of the affected teenagers, urged the police to expedite the investigation to apprehend and prosecute those responsible for his son's death. He highlighted the rising insecurity due to cattle theft in Legenya and neighboring Bukyabo sub-counties and criticized the apparent lack of action by security forces, resulting in the tragic loss of innocent lives.
Isaiah Sasaga Wanzira, the Budadiri East Constituency MP in Sironko district, appealed for calm among residents following reports of planned retaliatory attacks. He urged prompt intervention by security forces to prevent further violence and loss of life.