A battle of the spirits has been raging in Ibanda district for a couple of weeks now.
This followed an incident in Kyarukobwa Cell in Katooma village, Ibanda town council where residents reported a coffin that is usually seen flying at night.
The coffin belongs to a colonial officer Gault
The residents say the coffin belongs to a British colonial administrator, Harry St. G. Gault, who was killed in the then Ankole Kingdom.
Sir Gault was speared to death by a revolutionary lad only identified as Rutaraka in 1905.
He was buried in Katooma village along Ibanda-Kagongo road and a pile of stones (which stand up to today) piled on top of his grave.
The then Gomborora chief, a strong woman named Kibubura made residents carry and pile the stones on the grave as a way of covering up the blood and cleansing the land.
The heap of stones on the former Rest House in which Galt was killed resurrects colonial cruelty memories which are handed down from generation to generation in the area.
Such memories included the torture and humiliation of men suffered under the hands of colonial administrators of Ankole.
The coffin starts flying
In May 2015, residents of Katooma village started reporting a coffin that was flying and allegedly seeking revenge.
John Baptist Ndyanabo, the LC1 chairperson of Katooma Cell also confirmed getting reports from several residents about the same.
Priests gather to pray and send away the ghost
As we learnt, church leaders in Ibanda town council gathered and prayed for the ghost to leave residents alone.
One of the important centers to such prayers was Bubare Catholic Church where Fr. Thailo Eladous appealed to God for intervention.
Witches take over, pin down the coffin
Other bizarre reports say even witches and wizards joined the fight on one hand where religious leaders launched theirs on the other.
On Monday, we were informed that the coffin has since disappeared to God knows where.
“I think the prayers from Christians and the work of witches played an upper hand,” a resident told us.
He said the coffin is not appearing because no one has since reported such an incident again.
We called the Ibanda District Police Commander, ASP Ndiita Nasiibu, but he was in the field and could not give us a comment.
We then talked to the Ibanda OC CIID, Davis Chris Pande, who confirmed getting reports of the flying coffin.
He denied capturing the coffin as some reports had insinuated.
“We got the report but I don’t know much about it.”
Residents told us that while they reported to the matter to police, neither the Police DPC nor the Resident District Commissioner, bothered visiting the scene.
RDC says Ibanda tops all districts in witchcraft
Perhaps gauging from the way witches handled the flying coffin incident, the Ibanda RDC, Eliasto Akatuhebwa, told journalists at his office on Wednesday that Ibanda district was among the districts that practice witchcraft to its utmost.
He alleged that tycoons were going underground to worship the devil and emerge with unspeakable riches.
“Take the flying coffin incident,” Akatuhebwa started, adding, “Katooma people go underground, that is why the coffin is appearing to them,”
He said the habit was posing a security threat to the district.