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Armed grave raiders on the loose

24 September 2014, 09:06 Godfrey Olukya

Kampala - Some villages in Uganda have been hit by armed grave raiders who have been stealing skulls from graves at night.

According to Uganda police spokesman, Fred Enanga, police near Kampala shot dead one man and arrested two with some skulls a few weeks ago.

The trio were moving on a motorcycle and when they saw police following them, they started firing. Police responded and overpowered them.

The most hit district is Luwero, located about 40 kms north of Kampala city. On Kamira village alone, over 10 graves have been vandalized in the last four months and skulls of those buried taken away.

''Armed thugs come at night and dig the graves. They take away skulls only. If anyone encounters them, they shoot to kill,'' said Kamira village local leader, Amron Mbabali.

Similar cases have been reported at several other villages in Luwero district and some other parts of the country.

Read Also: Uganda's new PM has pending corruption cases

A criminal investigations department chief at Mazzi police post in Luwero district, John Bosco Kawooya confirmed that indeed there are some people who dig up graves and steal skulls.

Kawooya said that he had handled several cases of exhumed bodies adding that he suspected that traditional healers were behind the activity.

''We have arrested several suspects. One of them told us that he had been promised UGX 50 000 (equivalent to about 20 US dollars) by someone in Kampala. He was later charged in court.
In Kayunga district, dozens of skulls have also been reported stolen from graves at night.

Apart from stealing from the graves, the mass graves of people who died in Luwero triangle when Museveni was fighting to take over power have also been stolen.

''1 000 skulls have so far been stolen from one of the mass graves located at Katikamu in which 2 000 skulls had been buried,'' said Zeferiya Nkono a resident of Katikamu.

However, with the escalating vice, police have started to investigate allegations that the skulls could have being sold in an International racket. Uganda police spokesman, Fred Enanga said that the media had given them a clue that some people could be trading in skulls.

''With the information we have received, we are going to investigate further,'' Enaga said.

The media reports are related to an Italian, who was recently arrested with 40 skulls in Burundi while allegedly attempting to export some to Chiang Mai, Thailand.

According to media reports,Guiseppe Favaro,alias Kassim Abdoulgani was recently arrested with a parcel full of skulls. Last week,police in Bujumbura said that Favaro had been shipping parcels of varying sizes, now suspected to have been containing skulls.

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