NDA closes 21 illegal veterinary drug outlets

The National Drug Authority (NDA) has shut down 21 illegal veterinary drug outlets in nine districts located in Western Uganda following a week-long operation to improve compliance with the Authority’s quality standards.

Stephen Ssemakalu, a Regulatory Officer at NDA, revealed that starting from 13th to 22nd October, Authority staff have been conducting compliance visits to veterinary drug outlets, agrochemical shops and some general merchandise shops in the districts of Kabarole, Bundibugyo, Ntoroko, Bunyangabu, Kyegegwa, Kyenjojo, Mityana, Kassanda and Mubende.

“During the operation, 69 trading centres were visited in which 149 outlets were inspected. Of these, 21 were found to be illegal and were closed and 25 boxes of assorted veterinary medicines estimated at Shs 53,700,000 were impounded,” Ssemakalu said.

He noted that most of the offending drug outlets were closed for employing unqualified personnel.

“Medicines in the hands of unqualified persons expose the public to wrong prescriptions, drug resistance, loss of income and other health-related risks, including death,” he said. “These operations and post-market surveillance activities are intended to protect the population from substandard, counterfeit, unregistered, expired and unqualified operators.”

Ssemakalu said they found out that several general merchandise and agro-chemical shops, including some in Ruterwa trading centre in Kyegegwa, and Mabira farmers’ choice in Kyenjojo district, were illegally selling veterinary products.

The NDA official appealed to the general public to always seek advice from qualified veterinary practitioners and buy veterinary medicines from licensed drug outlets.

“Avoid buying medicines from hawkers because it is an illegal practice, and NDA cannot guarantee the quality of those medicines.”

Adulterated pesticides

The NDA Regional Manager (Western) Christopher Luzinda said they have been receiving complaints from livestock keepers about the pervasive fake acaricides on the market.

“We have been receiving complaints that pesticides meant for killing ticks are no longer working so we had to come on ground to find out why,” Luzinda said.

Luzinda said it was established that some veterinary drug attendants dilute the pesticides in their stores, with the result that when livestock farmers buy them, they do not work.

He said they have withdrawn the drugs from the illegal outlets to safeguard the public and ensure those operators get licenses or employ qualified personnel to operate them.

“We have not impounded these drugs on account that they are fake, but so that the operators can follow the guidelines and once they are done, they will take them back,” he said.

NDA is a government agency mandated to ensure that the population accesses safe, efficacious and quality human and veterinary medicines from licensed drug outlets manned by qualified medical personnel.

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Lyamujungu Cooperative reinvests all dividends to settle outstanding loan

Members of Kabale-based Lyamujungu Co-operative Financial Services Ltd have resolved to reinvest all their dividends in order to absorb the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic that has affected many financial institutions in Uganda.

The decision was made during the cooperative’s recent scientific Annual General Meeting (AGM) held on Saturday, October 17, 2020.

According to the cooperative’s General Manager, Dicky Byamukama, the successful extraordinary annual general meeting held at Kizinga Church of Uganda, was attended by over 100 delegates and all the board members.

“To observe the COVID-19 SOPs, management was represented by branch managers and senior management staff. We did not compromise on the social distancing aspect either,” Byamukama said.

He confirmed that during the AGM members unanimously agreed to recapitalize Shs 235m dividends as part of their share capital to boost the cooperative’s growth.

“All members appreciated the advice from the supervisory committee where every share had generated 1000 shillings as dividends and they resolved to recapitalize those dividends,” Byamukama explained.

He, however, reported that some members had rejected the idea until the District Commercial Officer (DCO), Erasmus Natumanya advised them on the importance of reinvesting dividends at this material time.

“Definitely it was a big debate but our guest of honour (DCO) added his voice in instilling the purpose of saving dividends.”

He adds that the reinvested dividends will enable the cooperative to settle a loan worth Shs 500mfrom the Microfinance Support Center, of which Shs 350m remains unpaid.

The General Manager noted that the cooperative’s financial activities have been greatly affected by the cross border conflict between Uganda and Rwanda

“Actually we have suffered much since most of our members had businesses in Rwanda which were affected. As a result, many are no longer saving nor are they picking loans for business investments,” Byamukama said.

He says the cooperative is looking forward to acquiring land titles to protect, secure and safeguard the cooperative’s capital assets

“There should be modalities put in place to ensure that all our land gets titles to avoid instances of land grabbing which is a common practice today.”

Kabale District Commercial Officer, Erasmus Natumanya advised that delegates be availed with by-laws to guide them in cooperative legal frameworks.

Robert Asiimwe, a representative from Uganda Co-operative Alliance thanked delegates for patronizing their cooperative.

A leading cooperative

One of the leading cooperatives in South Western Uganda, Lyamujungu Co-operative Financial Services Ltd (LCFSL) started in August 1984 with 16 members.

It was registered by the Registrar of Co-operatives in 1990 under Reg. No 5695 and mandated to operate within greater Kabale District.

Currently, it has 7 branches and four outreaches, with a total of 23,000 members, total savings of Shs 4.1bn, total share capital of Shs 3.05bn, a net surplus of Shs 301m, and a loan portfolio of 8.2bn.

According to its General Manager, Lyamujungu is keen to convert into a Microfinance Deposit-taking Institution (MDI) in the next 5 years.

“Through this new law where Bank of Uganda is to take on some cooperatives in terms of supervision and guidance, we see Lyamujungu getting promoted to a Tier 3 MDI,” says Byamukama.

He urged the cooperators to improve on their savings and buy more share capital to anticipate further institutional growth and support.

“There is need to encourage our members to develop a saving culture in a bid to foster the SACCO’s operations for growth and development.”

He, however, warned its members to desist from multiple borrowing that has resulted in poor loan repayments.

The meeting also recommended that capital expenditures be minimized until the financial environment normalises.

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Gulu: Farmers shun beehives worth Shs 12m

At least 200 beehives worth Shs 12m have been shunned by the farmers they were intended for, with some reportedly turning them into fire wood for cooking and construction materials for chicken houses.

The beehives were distributed to farmers in Olwo, Lamoroto, Bokeber and Bura villages in early March, 2020 under the Project for the Restoration of Livelihoods in the Northern Region (PRELNOR), a government project.

The farmers however failed to pick up the hives claiming that they are too big and would cost them Shs 20,000 in transport.

Josephine Akwero, a local farmer in Bokeber village said locals shunned the beehives because they are too big and heavy to transport.

“I myself picked only one small beehive. The remaining ones were very heavy,” she said.

The bee hives were placed at her home where other farmers were expected to pick them up.

Akwero blamed Gulu district for wasting taxpayers’ money by making big hives which the community cannot use.

Phillip Ongwech Agela, the L.C II Chairperson Pagik parish said some of the beehives are now rotting after being pounded by the heavy rains recently experienced in the region.

Ongwech said the district should have educated the community on how to use the new type of beehives.

“The community is used to the small bee hives and the district did not bother to sensitize farmers on how to use this new type. Some farmers decided to use them as fire wood while others decided to split the beehives and use the wood to build chicken houses,” he said.

Simon Peter Oola, the Vice Gulu District Chairperson agrees with Ongwech saying the community will be sensitized on how to use the new beehives.

“Traditionally, beehives are placed on tree trunks but these new hives are too big and heavy to be placed on a tree,” he said.

Oola said that the farmers were expected to cut tree trunks and put them on the ground so that they can place the beehives on them.

“The intention of making the big bee hives was to increase the volumes of honey that farmers would harvest but unfortunately, they did not know how to use them,” he explained.

Oola said that the new beehives are estimated to produce at least 20 litres of honey unlike the traditional ones which produce between 5-7 litres.

He said that unlike many agricultural products whose prices fluctuate, the price of honey is relatively stable. A litre of honey currently costs Shs 20,000.

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Cooperators urged to embrace responsibility

Cooperators have been urged to take back control of their cooperatives by taking up membership roles and responsibilities in order to enhance the resilience and success of their organizations.

During the recent launch of Sino Uganda Trader’s Cooperative Society at Grand Imperial Hotel in Kampala, Denis Tukahikaho, the Technical Advisor for development of Cooperatives to The Uhuru Institute for Social Development underscored that member participation would define the success or failure of any cooperative.

Tukahikaho said that when individuals belong to two or more Cooperatives, their ability to patronize and grow either cooperative is undermined.

“One of the challenges we (the Cooperative movement) face is where you find one person belongs to five or six Cooperatives. Each Cooperative has its demands. You have to attend meetings, save, buy shares and so on.. In the end, you are split all over,” Tukahikaho said.

He called on Cooperators to focus on the long-term.

“For a Cooperative to be successful, you have to look at the next generation. Your needs might not be met tomorrow or the other day, but it can be met after two years or three. So, if you drop out today because your needs have not been met, you are doing a disservice to yourself,” Tukahikaho argued.

The cooperative developer also noted that many people form or join Cooperatives with the agenda of getting money from government, something he says has affected prospective Cooperatives because of lack of sustainability and membership input.

Sino Uganda Cooperative Society was launched with 52 members, having been registered and granted a probationary certificate by the Commissioner for Cooperatives in February this year. The bulk of the Cooperative’s membership comprises of city traders under the Kampala Arcaders and Traders Association (KATA).

Last year KATA, who together with Kampala She-traders Association (KASTA) were organizers for the launch of Sino Uganda, launched Kampala Arcaders and Traders Cooperative Savings and Credit Society (KATCSCS) at JBK hotel in Kampala. However, the Cooperative failed to set off with operations.

Ssekulima Amir Ssebowa, the Chairperson of Sino Uganda Cooperative Society said part of the problem in the past arose from the fact that members did not understand what they were engaging in (cooperatives).

“With the leadership training we have received, we are now ready to steer Sino Uganda Cooperative Society to success,” Ssekulima said.

Ssekulima said Sino Uganda aims to help local traders liaise with trade partners in China and other countries and facilitate ease in trade.

For Wilberforce Waliggo, the KCCA Commercial Officer for the Central Division, members ought to be clear what they expect to benefit from joining a cooperative.

“Someone will join a Cooperative for personal objectives, which if not met, the member will move on to another SACCO. The challenge is lack of sensitization. Before a member is admitted, he should be educated on how that SACCO operates, Waliggo said.

Waliggo argues that belonging to many cooperatives and frequent member exoduses have led to the collapse of many cooperatives.

“A number of Cooperatives have failed because of this challenge, members leaving and jumping onto other SACCOs! In the end, the society they are leaving may not survive because they will have pulled out whatever they injected in. Many cooperatives have died at infancy because of this challenge, which also affects the cooperative movement as it creates mistrust in the public.” Waliggo said.

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Bishop Stuart University, Cooperatives to collaborate on internship placement

Bishop Stuart University has put in place collaborations with more than 50 cooperatives where their students can go for hands-on internship practice and skills training.

The revelation was made last week by Ass. Prof. Gershom Atukunda, the university’s Dean for the Faculty of Business Economics.

“We signed MoUs with over 50 cooperatives around Ankole so that our students do their internship on their farms and it’s farmers who will evaluate them,” Atukunda explained.

The move is part of the institution’s shift from the four-wall classroom model to the field-classroom model that aims to train hands-on graduates for the African market.

“The farmers will be the professors to enable us produce quality skilled graduates in the fields of agriculture and cooperatives,” he said, adding that students must satisfy the farmers’ needs as they also help the students to reach where they want to be.

Embracing online learning

Meanwhile, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to haunt institutions, the university has adopted e-learning technology to enable students continue their studies online.

According to Prof Mauda Kamatenesi, the Vice Chancellor, Bishop Stuart University, the institution recently received official approval from the National Council for Higher Education (NCHE) to conduct an online teaching system.

“It is now a new era of information which is going to be characterized by digital information. With my science background I don’t see COVID-19 ending soon and the world cannot stop because of COVID-19,” Kamatenesi said.

The e-system, dubbed ODEL (Open distance e-learning) platform, will facilitate learning for continuing students in 89 programs.

Some of the courses to be taught online include; B.A. of Cooperatives’ Management and Development, PhD in Agriculture and Community Innovation, Master of Agriculture and Rural Innovation, Bachelor of Agriculture and Community Management, MSc. in Climate Change And Food Security among others.

The online program will start on November 2, 2020 and each student is required to own a smart phone, laptop or tablet in order to access the classes.

The Vice Chancellor urged lecturers and students to take up online studies.

“We shall be conducting trainings and running meetings online, so if you do not embrace it, you will be left behind,” she cautioned.

“I have already directed all my staff to upload all their material online and develop modules in the system. Any university that is not ready to endorse the fourth industrial revolution is likely not to survive,” the VC said, citing banks which leveraged a robust digital/ e-banking system to continue running during the pandemic.

Kamatenesi says students will first undergo training on how to use the technology, then receive handouts to ensure a smooth transition into e-learning.

“The ultimate goal is to migrate to blended learning” the Vice Chancellor said

Addressing cost concerns related to adopting the new technology, Prof. Kamatenesi suggested that the cost of acquiring new gadgets would be offset by savings on school uniform and other items like books and pens.

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Farmers in Northern Uganda to embark on growing Rosemary

Hundreds of farmers in Acoli and Lango sub regions have received training on Rosemary growing from Special Anointing Oil, SAO-Uganda, an NGO that promotes growth of the popular herb around the country.

Rosemary is a perennial evergreen herb with blue flowers and minty, piney aroma. Native to the Mediterranean, it is now naturalised in East Africa.

In August this year, SAO-Uganda started training farmers interested in growing Rosemary in Lango sub-region.

Peter Otim, a farmer in Atuku town Council in Kwania district, is among the farmers who received training in growing the medicinal plant.

Otim told theCooperator that about at least 26 farmers in his area underwent the training, and more are showing interest in joining.

“I took interest in the plant because I learned about its numerous medicinal benefits. Secondly, the plant is drought-, pest- and disease-resistant,” he said.

Otim, who confessed that he first heard about Rosemary during the training, plans to dedicate two acres of land to growing the herb because he is convinced that he will get good returns from the venture.

“Besides, the company that trained us will buy the harvest, so I won’t have to worry about marketing it,” he added.

Pascal Osire, the Northern Uganda Regional Coordinator SAO-Uganda observes that the company trained farmers in all districts in Lango and Acoli sub-regions, except Amolatar, Dokolo and Amuru districts. The company expects to recruit 36 farmers per district after the training.

“Planting of the crop will start next season. Right now, we are training farmers and preparing their mindset. Next month we will be able to know how many people per village are willing to do the Rosemary growing,” Osire said.

“We want to recruit community investors who will be in charge of our projects in each district, then ambassadors at the parish level, for effective communication, reporting and quick response when a farmer needs assistance,” he added.

The agreement

Osire said the company is drafting a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to be signed by the farmers on acquisition of seedlings and marketing.

Under the proposed MoU, the company would supply farmers with seedlings on credit, which would then be paid for by the farmers in two instalments.

Osire said a farmer requires 6,000 seedlings of Rosemary to cover an acre of garden, which will be sold to them at Shs 1000 each. Other dealers in Rosemary seedlings, he says, sell each seedling at Shs 5,000.

“This implies that if a farmer wants to plant an acre, they will need Shs 6m. But we are giving the seedlings on credit because most of our farmers can’t raise Shs 6m at once,” he said.

“This will motivate the farmers take care of the crop well, knowing that they have a debt to pay,” Osire said.

Harvesting and marketing

Osire said the first harvest of Rosemary is done after 6-7 months, with a minimum yield of 1500 kilograms per acre, which is then sold at Shs 5000 per kilogram.

“That means a farmer will get Shs 7.5 million in the first harvest, and the same amount after subsequent harvests that will be done after every four months, for five years,” Osire said.

“However, when one does value addition, by for instance drying the Rosemary, they get between Shs 11-12m per harvest,” he said.

Osire noted farmers’ concerns over marketability of the product, but assured them that under the proposed MoU to be signed with the farmers, SAO-Uganda would commit to buying all the their Rosemary harvests.

Why Rosemary?

According to Osire, the company chose the Rosemary project after researching on and learning of its numerous health benefits.

“We found that it [Rosemary] heals many diseases. So, we want farmers to grow it and we make herbal medicine out of them. We can make 40 products out of Rosemary,” he said.

In addition to being used to treat headaches, poor circulation, depression, muscle cramps, to detoxify and boost the immune system, Rosemary is also used in the kitchen for food seasoning.

Osire said the company recently installed a machine for processing Rosemary oil in Kyengera.

“When we start using that machine, we will need about 10 tonnes of Rosemary every day,” he said.

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Kasese youth urged to embrace agribusiness

Youthful coffee farmers in Kasese have been urged to join agribusiness as one way to maximise their earnings.

The call was made a during a one-day training for business incubators in Kasese.

In an exclusive interview with this reporter, at the sidelines of the event, Apollo Segawa, the Executive Director for the Consortium for Enhancing University Responsiveness to Agribusiness Development [CURAD] noted that youths face several challenges making it in the coffee business.

”The majority of the youth don’t own land and have no access to capital,” he said, adding that agribusiness which does not necessarily require one to be involved in primary agriculture might be a good alternative.

He remarked that many youth prefer being nursery operators while some are interested in the tail end of the coffee value chain.

“We have shared opportunities with the youth in Kasese about coffee, starting from nursery operator to consumer use,” Segawa said.

Edward Tanyima , the National Coordinator for Decent Rural Youth Empowerment at the Food and Agriculture Organization [FAO] revealed that 78% of the youth graduates aged 18-30 years remain on the streets looking for formal jobs, leaving agriculture for school dropouts and peasants .

“Educated young people should engage in agribusiness instead of leaving it only to the poor and illiterate,” he said.

Tanyima decried the practice of young people selling their small pieces of land in villages in order to buy boda bodas. Rather, he advised, they should pick interest in agriculture or find other investment opportunities and consider engaging in joint ventures with like-minded individuals.

Charles Katson, a coffee farmer argued for specialisation if the cash crop is to meet its potential in Kasese.

“We [coffee farmers] have not specialized in coffee. Most times it is mixed with other crops, and so it has not got as much attention from farmers as it deserves. As a result you can’t even identify coffee farmers. It is important to specialise in coffee,” Katson said.

Value addition key

Salveri Sunday, a young entrepreneur in the coffee sector encouraged youths to prioritise value addition along the coffee value chain.

For instance, the agripreneur revealed that he buys roasted coffee from Bukonzo Joint [Cooperative Union], crushes it, and adds pineapple, sorghum and bananas to make wine.

Sunday, who used to be a street child, has coffee agribusiness to thank for the transformation of his life.

“I was a street boy who used to eat from the dust bin of Margarita hotel but here am, I now employ more than 100 youth. I’ve even sat on the same table with the president of this country because of my entrepreneurship skills,” he said.

While closing the training, Kasese RDC Lt. Joe Walusimbi thanked the organisers for empowering the youth and called upon the attendees to use the knowledge acquired profitably.

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UNBS develops 110 new standards for food and agricultural sector

In a move aimed at promoting the quality, safety and competitiveness of agricultural commodities on the Ugandan market, the Uganda National Bureau of Standards (UNBS) has developed over 110 new standards for products in the food and agricultural sector.

The Executive Director of UNBS, Eng. Dr. Ben Manyindo, made the revelation while presenting the 2019/20 UNBS annual performance report at Uganda Media Centre recently, saying:

“Standards and conformity assessments improve efficiency of production, facilitate international trade and contribute towards Uganda’s economic development, food security and the livelihood of the people.”

Manyindo urged those involved in the trade of food and agricultural produce to familiarise themselves with the standards in order to avoid falling afoul of the law.

“UNBS will have the standards enforced with no body having any excuse for pleading ignorance,” he warned.

The Standards boss revealed that the Bureau developed 505 standards last financial year, of which 110 are in the food and agricultural sector, bringing the total number of standards in use in the country today to 3948.

In other areas, 125 standards were developed for engineering, 148 in chemicals and consumer products and 122 for management and services. Manyindo stated that the newly developed standards will support key sectors and catalyse Uganda’s economic growth.

To boost comprehension and implementation of the standards, the bureau has moved on to simplify select food and agricultural standards into easy-to-use guidelines, translated into widely spoken local languages, a move that has benefitted over 600 farmers in the country so far.

The UNBS report also noted an 11% improvement in its market surveillance and inspection performance from 6,648 done the previous year to 7,345 inspections conducted last financial year, covering 56% of the entire country.

The surveillance effort unearthed some areas of concern with regard to sub-standard goods and non-compliance with standards requirements.

“The prevalence of sub-standards goods on the market is still a challenge especially from the informal business, thus calling for more efforts in consumer vigilance, market information sharing, partnership at local governments and consumer awareness,” Manyindo commented.

From import inspection and surveillance in 2019/20, Manyindo said that UNBS intercepted and destroyed a total of 232 metric tonnes of sub-standard goods, worth over Shs 2.5bn. Although the Executive Director said UNBS is moving to tighten inspection at border points and decentralize services to different districts, he notes that there is a staff gap as they currently have over 1,400 workers out of an expected 6,000.

Manyindo also says that out of a total of Shs 68.9bn approved, government released only Shs 59.7bn as budget for financial year 2019/2020 out of which the bureau generated and remitted Non Tax Revenue of Shs 38.2bn to the consolidated fund.

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Local non-profit mentors farmers into entrepreneurs

In a bid to break the cycle of poverty, thousands of farmers in Gulu, Nwoya, and Kitgum district have embraced entrepreneurship, engaging in income generating activities like retailing silver fish, vegetables and other produce.

This after they were mentored by Village Enterprise, a non-profit organization through its Saving With A Purpose(SWAP) scheme that teaches members to first identify their need and then save for it for a particular period.

Participants in the scheme say the practice of targeted saving it encourages has been a life-changer. Last Tuesday, the group members shared their savings after nine months of saving.

Milly Achola, a 50-year old resident of Kiceke village in Paicho Sub county, Gulu district says that she has belonged to saving groups before, but her experience with SWAP has been different.

“I did not know much about business. I would just save for schools fees and had no money to buy even just household utensils, but now I can proudly host my friends and relatives,” the mother of five said, showing off the household items she had bought through the scheme.

Okot Patrick Obbo, the L.C I General Secretary Kiceke village said the SWAP scheme has reduced gender based violence in the area by involving the entire family.

“In other saving groups, locals sneak to save money; sometimes women will even steal farm produce to sell off in order to get money to save weekly but usually ends in fights between couples. With SWAP, both partners and their children are involved, so it’s a collective effort which discourages secrecy,” he said.

Farmers to entrepreneurs

Village enterprise’s Saving With A Purpose (SWAP) scheme was launched in 2016 in Nwoya district to help individuals and businesses set and achieve specific targets. The non-profit which also operates in Gulu and Nwoya recently extended operations to Kiryandongo and Masindi.

They mostly deal with farmers, retailers, produce dealers and skilled business people like tailors and restaurant operators.

Agnes Aryemo, a business mentor at Village Enterprise, says each group consisting of three members is given a grant of Shs 520,000 to start an enterprise of their choice.

“Being in a group encourages sustainability of the project and safety of the grant. If one person decides to leave the group, the remaining two members can continue,” she said.

“Much as many of the members are farmers, the program encourages them to engage in income generating activities so that they can have a good cash flow,” Aryemo added.

Aryemo trains the group members on skills like writing business plans and record keeping, among others to ensure that the businesses are sustainable and profit making.

“I have seen families transformed. There are families which did not have even cups with which to drink water when the project started.

It’s common for saving groups to spend all their money on clothes, food and unnecessary things because they don’t save with a purpose,” she pointed out.

According to Zita Akwero, the Northern Regional Manager Village Enterprise, a total of 4,075 farmers in Gulu, Nwoya and Kitgum have since 2016 benefited from the project.

In Kiceke village, Paicho Sub County, Gulu district, 30 women-mostly farmers under Rubangatwero Bolicup saving group told Mega FM, a local radio station, that they have been able to acquire household assets after engaging in commercial farming and other income generating activities like retailing vegetables.

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Thugs hit Mbarara cooperative, kill two guards

Police in Mbarara is investigating circumstances under which two security guards were killed on Sunday after unknown assailants attacked a local cooperative.

According to Rwizi Region Police spokesperson, ASP Samson Kasasira, the deceased were guarding Nyakayojo People’s SACCO located in Karama 1 cell Rwakishakizi ward Nyakayojo Division Mbarara City.

The incident happened over the weekend (Sunday) when the as-yet-unidentified assailants attacked Nyakayojo SACCO with the suspected aim of robbing its property.

“Today 11th October at about 0700hrs we received information from Nyakayojo Police Post that two security guards guarding at Nyakayojo People’s SACCO were found dead,” Kasasira said.

The spokesperson said a team of investigators including the Rwizi Regional Scene of Crime Officer (SOCO), canine and homicide investigators rushed to the scene to begin inquiries into the incident.

The deceased were identified as Herbert Tugume aged 22 a resident of Kitabo cell in Kashongi Sub County, Kiruhura district, and 22-year old Igga Budalla from Buteraniro Nyeihanga Rwampara district, both attached to Securiwise Security Company Ltd.

According to the police, two guards were stuck with blunt objects that led to their death on spot. Kasasira further disclosed that a rifle with three rounds and a baton were recovered at the scene.

He said the assailants first destroyed the CCTV camera at the cooperative before breaking into the co-op’s premises to steal a 32-inch LG television, an HP laptop, Network router and a TECNO Pop 2 mobile phone.

However, the SACCO money was not taken after the assailants attempted but apparently failed to break into the safe.

“Cash in the strong room was found intact because the safe was too strong for the thieves to break into,” said one of the SACCO’s employees.

Nyakayojo people’s SACCO is one of the leading financial cooperatives in Mbarara, with a total turnover of more than Shs 2 bn.

Attempts by theCooperator to reach the SACCO’s Manager for comment on the incident were unfruitful as he repeatedly turned down our calls.

The bodies of the deceased were taken to Mbarara Regional Referral hospital for post-mortem.

Kasasira says no arrests have been made so far, but investigations are ongoing.

He advised financial institutions to employ competently trained security personnel to guarantee the safety of their members’ savings.

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