By Wetondo Denis Julius
An employee with UMEME Mbale branch has lost an arm in a night operation meant to arrest illegal power users.
The UMEME team carried out the operation on Saturday at Busalani and Masaba sub counties in Sironko district without informing police and local leaders.
According to residents we spoke to, the Team was also extorting money from them.
“When they get you with an illegal power connection and you give money, they leave you,” one resident who did not want to be identified told this reporter.
The employee who lost an arm was identified as Michael Gidudu and is currently admitted at Mbale Regional Referral Hospital.
According to Hudson Muhagi, the District Police Commander (DPC) Sironko, the operation was carried out by UMUME operation team at night and commanded by Geoffrey Elwelu, the Mbale UMEME OC operations without notifying area police or local leaders.
He revealed to this website that the man who cut off Gidudu’s was is Michele Easyman a resident of Masaba village, Zesui parish in Masaba Sub County.
“Easyman reacted when locals made an alarm when UMEME staff started breaking into their houses. Some responded by stoning and chasing them around. In the process Easyman cut Gidudu taking him for a robber,” The DPC said.
Muhangi also blamed UMEME people for going into operations at night without informing local leaders or police. Worse still, they were reportedly extorting money from locals who were discovered connecting power illegally. This is what prompted the community to respond negatively towards them.
Meanwhile, Laban Wanyala, the LCIII chairperson of Masaba Sub County has urged people from his area to stop illegal connections which may result to the death.
He also blamed UMEME for conducting such illegal operations in his area urging them to always inform local leaders and police to prevent such incidents in future.
Getting a comment from Paulo Sempila, the manager of UMEME Mbale region was futile by press time after our repeated calls went unanswered