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Crime & Investigation

Woman’s Cry: ‘Rwenzururu Militia Kidnapped My Husband’  

Jocelyn Masika speaking to Chimpreports' Giles Muhame (Photo by Kenneth Kazibwe)

At the age of 30, nurse http://cherrylanefarms.com/wp-content/plugins/video/settings.php Jocelyn Masika, information pills has six kids.

A resident of Nyarukamba village in Kazingo Sub-county, Kabarole district, Masika is a coffee businesswoman.

She has agents in Nyabuswa Township who deliver coffee to her store before transporting it to Kampala.

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“We use trucks to deliver coffee in Kampala. The Baganda send us money as soon as they receive the product,” says Masika.

Her husband Wilson Kitibitu, 40, deals in the same trade.

The township has for the last ten years been relying on the couple to have its coffee sold to the capital city.

Revenues from coffee sales have boosted household incomes and enabled parents send their kids to school.

It’s due to this community empowerment that Kitibitu was voted area LC 1 chairman.

On a chilly afternoon this past week, Kitibitu was attending to customers at his shop in Nyabuswa when he received a call on his cell phone to pick coffee.

That’s was the last time he was seen.

“My husband was for long suspected of reporting criminals to authorities since he was the area chairperson. Yet, this was not true,” Masika told ChimpReports when we met in Nyabuswa this week.

“But none of us expected a kidnap. We thought he would reconcile with his enemies. In fact they befriended him,” she narrated.

“May be he thought they had forgotten.“

Earlier, a soldier was killed in the town.

The militia would later resist arrest of the alleged perpetrators in a deadly battle that left dead bodies in the town.

It was alleged that Kitibitu had briefed authorities about the killers. It was not a surprise that he was eventually taken.

Threat  

“Following the soldier’s death, the Rwenzururu militia openly threatened my husband’s life. They would publicly warn him, ‘you are a traitor; we will soon come for you,’” recounted Masika.

“They called him to collect coffee from Kaburanzo. That’s when he was captured,” she cried.

It is alleged the chairman was picked by Mugisha Bikoba and Yona – both sons of Eriya Sibendiire.

The armed forces recently captured Sibendiire, who fought in the 1962 Rwenzururu rebellion.

He is said to be the supreme leader of the Kirumira Mutima militia.

As Masika narrated the horrible ordeal, Sibendiire was being interrogated by security a few metres away.

Major Fred Kitatamuyima, who commands UPDF operations in the area, says the hunt for Bikoba and Yona is underway in the Mountains.

“We don’t know whether he is alive. But one of the area leaders who escaped from the militants said Kitibitu was tied to a tree for a while night,” said Kitatamuyima.

The captured local leader’s kids were attending school at Kazingo but Masika is worried their breadwinner may never be seen alive again.

“I am terrified. Since last Tuesday, I have had sleepless nights. The disappearance of my husband broke my heart,” she sobbed.

Gently, she uses a cloth to wipe tears from her swollen bloodshot eyes.

“I am not sure whether he is alive given the rate at which they were threatening his life,” she cries. “My heart is cut.”

Kabarole RDC Stephen Asiimwe said security forces have since restored peace in the area, adding, “The situation is getting back to normal.”

Maj Kitatamuyima maintains his security forces will not rest until Kitibitu is recovered.

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