Police speak out on Minister Nyamutoro shooting incident; suspects named

Police have confirmed the arrest of five private security guards that were involved in an altercation that endangered the life of the Minister of State for Mineral Development, Hon Phiona Nyamutoro

Minister Nyamutoro at the scene

Earlier today, Hon Nyamutoro, narrowly escaped being shot during an inspection at an illegal mining site.

The incident occurred at Butare Katoojo in Muko Sub-county, Rubanda District.

A video that surfaced online showed police officers apprehending private security guards involved in the confrontation.

This afternoon, Kigezi Region Police spokesman Elly Maate issued a statement providing detailed information about the incident.

According to Maate, the Minister, along with a technical team from the Directorate of Geological Survey and Mines and the Police Mineral Protection Unit (PMPU), was on a country-wide tour and consultative engagement on draft regulations for gazetting areas for artisanal and small-scale miners.

The team was inspecting Iron Ore Exploration License No. EL00340, which belongs to STEAM Investments. They had received a complaint from STEAM's directors that unknown individuals were mining illegally in their licensed area.

These illegal miners were allegedly working for John Muluri Muyambi and the National Cement Company.

The incident unfolded on June 20, 2024, around 10:00 AM, when the Minister and her team arrived at the site for a fact-finding inspection.

The private security company on duty refused to grant them access, prompting police intervention. Following the inspection, the security guards blocked the Minister's convoy and threatened to shoot.

Maate says there were five private security guards at the scene, armed with three rifles (SMGs).

The guards were identified as Kiiza Deus, Okurboth Robert, Niwagaba Anthony, Kajugo Mathias, and Mucunguzi Robert. They were subsequently arrested, disarmed, and handed over to the territorial police at Rubanda Central Police Station (CPS). They have been charged accordingly.

"The Minister and team are safe and have continued with their scheduled duties. No cause for alarm," Maate assured in his statement.

Hon. Phiona Nyamutoro in the video, appeared unfazed, describing the incident as “laughable.”

The Minister also ordered the arrest of the directors of the company where the guards were deployed, describing their actions as “laughable.”

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