Rubanda environmental activists beaten and arrested by police

By Alex Mugisha

Five Environmental Defenders are nursing serious injuries after being beaten up by police in Rubanda District.

 The five Defenders had been raising issues on soil pollution while appearing on local radio stations. The Defenders while appearing on Rubanda FM a local radio station on the 15th October 2021celebrating the international rural women’s day, showed concern over the way rural women are suffering in rural farming yet without much crop yields.

The Defenders while on the radio were castigating the government over harmful and fake agriculture chemicals such as weed control chemicals and artificial fertilizers and fake seeds that have hit the Uganda agriculture market.

The Defenders also cautioned the government that soon Uganda will have no food and no other seed species since bees are being killed by the fake chemicals being sold to rural women farmers.

 The Defenders who seemed to be gearing rural women to come together and demonstrate against these fake farm inputs on rural women’s day were later netted by police who brutalized them during the scuffle to arrest them immediately after the program. Although Police tried to arrest only two, the three Defenders who escaped are nursing serious injuries from an undisclosed medical center in the region for fear of being arrested.

Dan Bazirebye, Natukunda Cate were unlucky and by the time of this news, they were still in cells at Rubanda District Police station, while Atim Doreen, Mbabazi Eve, and Nguma Amon escaped but nursing injuries.

 According to the Chief executive officer Defend the seed Africa   Brenda Ampere, says that they will continue to demonstrate calling for an immediate ban on importing and use of fake farm inputs which is putting not only rural people at risk but also everyone on the globe.

Brenda told African Pearl News –APN that their actions are advocating for the use of permaculture practices that feed the soil, protecting the Environment thus mitigation and adapting climate change effects.

“Police should not have attacked Environmental activists at night. They would haven’t beaten them and destroyed their laptops and phones. Police should understand that they also need to live in a cleaner environment and not eat intoxicated food caused by harmful agriculture chemicals” Brenda revealed.

The officer in charge of Rubanda police station Emmanuel Mushanga said that the arrested and those on the run were inciting the public to cause a riot by demonstrating on Rural women’s day but as police, we were quick to intervene.

He adds that police are also hunting for those who escaped so that they are charged.

Victoria Abigaba the Assure Uganda executive director told African Pearl News that the actions by police to attack and beat up environmentalists is unacceptable and must be condemned by all people irrespective of religion and political affiliation.

The Kigezi sub-region has recently witnessed the wrath of environmental degradation which flash floods and landslides hitting the sub-counties of Buhara and Maziba in Kabale, Hamurwa in Rubanda district, and Rubuguri town council in Kisoro.

Three people have also been killed by mudslides since the one set of the rainy season in September.