Mineral protection unit commandant Keigomba arrested

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Jessica Keigomba [New Vision photo]

The Commandant of Police Mineral Protection Unit, SP Jessica Keigomba, has Wednesday been arrested at parliament for lying to legislators.

Keigomba and her team were appearing before the Natural Resource Committee of parliament a petition by artisans last month.

When asked about complaints by artisans who decried brutal and unfair evictions, Keigomba told lies on oath that there were no evictions of artisan miners in Buhwejju and Mubende districts.

The angry MPs ordered for her immediate arrest.

The committee also ordered the artisanal miners in Buhwejju and Mubende that were evicted from their land by police to go back to their workplaces.

Background

In their October 2019 petition, artisanal miners from Buhweju district asked for licenses to explore gold, following their eviction from the fields by the Mineral Protection Unit.

John Bosco Bukya, who head their association told the committee that the artisanal miners are ready to start legal operations because they are organised and have been mining gold since 1918.

He also urged government to halt further alleged evictions of artisanal miners, saying that they have received information that there are planned evictions in Karamoja and Busia.

The spokesperson of the Buhweju Artisanal Miners Association, Deusdedit Bainomugisha, recounted the events leading to the evictions, saying that the miners were given only two hours to vacate their mines.

Bainomugisha accused the commandant of the Mineral Protection Unit, Keigomba, of intimidating miners after they petitioned President Museveni.

“She addressed people in one of the meetings and told them that she is answerable to the Inspector General of Police and the President. I can do whatever I want. I have the money and I can do anything I want. With all these events, we are worried,” he said.

She was accused of protecting and giving a Chinese mining company, Hebei, access to the mining fields.

The Committee on Natural Resources is investigating the alleged eviction of over 250 artisanal miners from Buhweju district in August 2019.

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