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Two Charcoal Burners Found Dead in Mount Elgon National Park

According to Police, Womona was last seen entering Mt Elgon national park on January 8th, 2020 with the aim of burning charcoal but didn't return home. This prompted his wife, Florence Womona to report to the LC 1 chairperson, Rogers Wetaka the disappearance of her husband.
Police have recovered two bodies of people suspected to be charcoal burners from Mount Elgon National Park Forest in Bulambuli and Bududa districts respectively.  

The deceased have been identified as John Kamoti Kiumi 50, a resident of Buwilili village in Munyende parish, Bumayoka sub county in Bududa District and Peter Womona, a resident of Sosomi village in Nataaba parish, Buluganya sub county in Bulambuli District.

According to Police, Womona was last seen entering Mt Elgon national park on January 8th, 2020 with the aim of burning charcoal but didn't return home. This prompted his wife, Florence Womona to report to the LC 1 chairperson, Rogers Wetaka the disappearance of her husband.   

A search was started by the relatives, who  the deceased's lifeless body lying in the National park near Sosomi village in Buluganya sub county in Bulambuli District with his hands tied with a rope.  In Bududa District, David Mayeku, the Bumayoka sub county LC V Councilor also reported the suspected murder of  John Kamoti to Bulucheke police station. 

It's alleged the deceased disappeared on January 6, 2020 only to be discovered buried in Mt Elgon National park at Mamiku area Kitsatsa village in Mabono parish in Bumayoka sub county on January 9th, 2020. Police suspect that the two could have been killed UWA rangers who allegedly carried out an operation in the National park on January 6th to 7th, 2020 in Bududa and January 8, 2020 in Bulambuli.

John Robert Tukei, the Elgon Region Police Spokesperson, says they are struggling to contain the communities because of the tension following the duo's killing. “No arrest so far but monitoring is ongoing and any new development will be communicated,” he said.          

Moses Shibuya, the Bumayoka  Internal Security Officer, says Kamoti was short twice and in the chest and stomach.  According to Shibuya, the deceased's wife told him that her husband went to the forest  to burn charcoal and didn't return home leading to a search.

Moses siisa, the Bumayoka Sub county LC III chairperson called for calm from residents who had gathered to avenge the death of their colleagues to stand one and allow the authorities to investigate the matter. 

He said there is a poor working relationship between the officials of and the community which he said the management of the organization must work on to stop the ongoing killings.      

Efforts to get a comment from the Manager Mount Elgon National Park were futile as his known phone numbers were unavailable.

However, an officer who spoke to URN on condition of anonymity since he is not allowed to speak to the media,  dismissed the allegations that the two were killed by park rangers.

He told Uganda Radio Network on Phone that they are no longer at war with community and wondered why they would kill someone for just burning charcoal.

“We no longer have clashes with communities, there was no need for us to kill someone for burning charcoal.  If we find you we arrest you and we take you to police, " he said. 

He said that the Bulambuli Resident Commissioner told them that the deceased jumped off the cliff when he was found in the forest burning charcoal.