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Illegal power connections kill over 1 000 people

05 February 2015, 08:32 Godfrey Olukya

Kampala - Over 1 000 people have died in eastern Uganda in the last 10 months due to being electrocuted as a result of illegal and careless electricity connections.

Police in eastern Uganda has revealed that Mountain Elgon region leads all other regions in the country in stealing electricity and also electrocution cases.

''The residents who are excited because electricity has been extended to their areas, use barbed wire to tap electricity from electricity poles. That leaves lives of the people especially children in danger. Over 1 000 people have so far been electrocuted,'' said Mutwalubi Masaba, a Councilor in the area.

He said many people die when they step on the wires which are at times buried in gardens.The children touch on them and are electrocuted.

Police have said that they have not arrested anyone over the illegal connections because that it is supposed to be done by Umeme.

According to Police officer, Livingstone Okulle, the locals bury those killed through electrocution without reporting to police but loal leaders keep records of the death.

''Mt Elgon region that covers the districts of Mbale, Manafwa, Bududa, Sironko, Bulambuli, Budaka, Tororo, Butaleja, Pallisa and Kapchorwa has been earmarked as the most affected area, deputized by Masaka District in central region,'' said Livingstone Okulle.

Residents of the Eastern district of Mbale are locked up in power consumer struggle after claiming that they had a deal with government to use electricity for free for five years under the Rural Electricity Agency.

The residents claim Umeme has refused to connect them freely as promised by president Museveni, which has led to rampant illegal connections in the area a claim that Umeme has denied.

Umeme public relations and media manager, Stephen Illungole has advised residents of the affected areas to regularize the power usage and avoid the risk of being electrocuted.

The residents also accuse Umeme of preventing them from burying their loved one who got electrocuted and instead threatened them with arrest.

Currently, Umeme is reportedly losing 60 percent of the power it produces every year to illegal connections.

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