Six private guards remanded for attempting to shoot at minister Nyamutoro

Six private guards remanded for attempting to shoot at minister Nyamutoro
Six security guards attached to Wolves Security Company at Kabale magistrate's court on June 24, 2024 on charges of threatening to shoot at State Minister for Minerals, Ms Phiona Nyamutoro.

Kabale, Uganda | By Michael Wandati | Six private security guards are facing seven counts of threatening violence after allegedly attempting to shoot at the State Minister for Minerals, Phiona Nyamutoro.

The accused individuals include; Nobert Okurboth, Manager of Wolves Security Company overseeing Rubanda and Kisoro districts, as well as Robert Mucunguzi, Anthony Niwagaba, Hassan Oman, Deus Kiiza, and Mathias Kajugo.

The incident occurred on Thursday 20, June 2024 when Minister Nyamutoro and officials from the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development were inspecting iron ore mines in Butare, operated by National Cement Company Limited, a subsidiary of the Devki Group.

The day before, the officials had held a consultative meeting with miners from the Kigezi region at White Horse Inn, Kabale, discussing the ongoing biometric registration of artisanal miners nationwide.

Upon their arrival at the mines, four security guards allegedly blocked the officials, cocking their guns in a threatening manner. The swift intervention of Minister Nyamutoro’s police bodyguards led to the disarming and arrest of the guards, averting potential violence.

Five private security guards arrested for threatening Minister Nyamutoro during iron ore mine inspection.

The six suspects appeared before Kabale Grade One Magistrate Julius Mutabazi on Monday 24, June 2024. They were formally charged with seven counts of threatening violence.

According to the charges, the accused threatened to shoot not only Minister Nyamutoro but also several other officials: Allen Ndyanabo, Head of the Geological Department in the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development; Bernard Katwaro, a commander in the Ministry’s Minerals Department; Anesterio Kiiza, the Police Minerals Protection Unit Commander for the Kigezi region; Solomon Okello; and Police Constables Cassim Asiimwe and Joseph Odeke, both attached to the Minerals Protection Unit.

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All suspects pleaded not guilty and were remanded to Ndorwa Government Prison until their next court appearance on July 18th. Kabale District State Attorney Rachael Nkwanzi informed the court that the investigation into the case is complete.

This incident underscores the tensions and security challenges that can arise in the mining sector, particularly in regions undergoing significant regulatory changes.

The biometric registration initiative, aimed at formalizing the operations of artisanal miners, is part of broader efforts by the government to streamline the sector, ensure compliance with environmental standards, and enhance the safety and welfare of miners.