52 Bodies remain unclaimed one year after Rwenzururu palace attack

By Ronald Kule (ronaldokule@gmail.com)

One year after the Uganda Peoples Defense Forces (UPDF) opened gunfire at the Rwenzururu palace in Kasese, 52 people who were buried at rukoki cemetery have remained unclaimed.

Authorities say their families have remained untraceable.

About 100 people died in the last year’s November 26-27th Rwenzururu palace attacks

Despite efforts by some of concerned persons to identify among the dead bodies that were displaced to those who claimed to have lost their relatives during the attacks before burial, most of the bodies were beyond recognition.

According to Lt. James Mwesigye the Kasese Resident District Commissioner  who also heads the district security committee, intelligence reports indicate that most of the dead bodies were Democratic Republic of Congo natives.

Mwesigye says police had opened doors for whoever feels opting for DNA with the bodies to establish their family tree but says no one has ever come to the authorities for help.

“Most of the these dead persons were royal guards from Congo that had came for recruitment into the royal forces at mumbere’s palace and when our forces attacked the palace in November most of them died there”, Mwesigye disclosed to UJK.

He adds that their relatives seem to have feared tracing them probably due to the nature of subversive activities they were engaged them against government.

“Of course no one can come from Congo to claim them because these people had turned enemies of government by trying to establish a force and attack government installation in their pursue for a separate state called Yira,” mwesigye added.

The Rwenzururu Kingdom Spokesperson Clearance Bwambale also says as the kingdom they have not yet received any person claiming to be a relative to the buried bodies.

“As Obusinga from the very beginning we offered an opportunity to whoever feels he can trace for his or her relative buried in the cemetery through DNA after police allowing us to do so but I can assure you we have never gotten any person”, clearance revealed to UJK

At rukoki cemetery, each one of the 52 graves is marked with a number card for easy identification in case any person comes to claim one of them.

The 52 bodies  were   were laid to rest at rukoki cemetery in Kasese a function that was conducted by specialists from Uganda police and a team from the inter religious council of Uganda On 5th December last year ,.

“We thought we should honor the dead in a better way than making them rot away at Kasese municipal mortuary,” said Samuel odongo, the former Kasese district police commander.

One of the health experts in Kasese Augustine Byamukama says if relatives of the deceased can be found extensive DNA testing can be done to find out who belongs to whom.

“We would take DNA from family members and relatives and try and match the family tree,” he said. “That’s real hard to do when you’ve got people who’ve been displaced to Congo and you’re trying to get their DNA,” Byamukama stressed. END


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