NWOYA – Concerned citizens of Nwoya district on Wednesday night June 19, arrested and beat up two Kenyan nationals who were masquerading as Ugandan State House operatives.
Mr Holiance Odhiambo and Mr Ferdinand Anyiga were rounded up by angry residents who mistook them to be land grabbers.
They were seen using hand-held devices and collecting soil samples.
The incident took place this week on Wednesday morning in Got Okwara Village in Lungulu Sub County, Nwoya district.
George Labeja the Mayor of Gulu Municipality was one of the landowners who was called to the scene.
Mr Labeja confirmed that the two suspects were claiming to be State House employees from Kampala, the duo allegedly used force to survey the area and even proceeded to take soil samples against the will of the residents.
According to Mayor Labeja, the Kenyans entered Uganda on May 2o, to and reports show that they were contracted by a Nairobi-based company known as Crop Nat to come and take samples of soil for testing.
“What made us to be concerned was the GPS fed in their phones and they had points of all the areas where they should pick soil samples from,” said the Mayor.
He also revealed that the duo intimidated the locals by saying they were sent by State House Uganda which infuriated the locals who collectively swung into action to defend their territories.
Labeja says areas the Kenyans had marked in their devices include the land of Deputy Chief Justice Alphonse Owiny Dollo, Leader of Opposition Betty Aol Ocan, Hida Abalo, and former LRA commander Sam Kolo all the demarcated areas are located in Alingiri in Nwoya district.
However, a police officer who couldn’t speak to our Website authoritatively reveals that the two Kenyans were contracted by Agri Vision International a company based in Kololo, Elizabeth road in Kampala to carry out soil samples.
“The first information we heard was that they were killed, but when we reached there, we found they were alive” the source added. The source noted that before Police intervened, Gulu Municipal Mayor Labeja had already calmed the angry mob from descending on the duo.
Meanwhile, Jimmy Patrick Okema, the Aswa Region Police Spokesman in an interview with our reporter on Thursday, June 20, refuted the rumours about killing the Kenyans. He confirmed that the duo was rescued by police and are being protected at Nwoya Central Police Station.
“It’s true as police we got that report and they were rescued from the locals who misunderstood their work. We discovered that they are Kenyan experts who were hired by some Investor that owns land in Nwoya district.” Okema noted.
He also narrated that the duo was sent to study the soil texture before they could commence work but in the process, they went to a wrong location.
Okema says Police has opened a general inquiry to investigate if they work for State House Kampala.
He commended the locals arguing that their response implies that they are conscious about strangers but also advised the community to desist from beating people who are suspected to be criminals.