MARACHA. Twenty-five houses in Maracha District have gone up in flames from mysterious fires, rendering up to 90 people homeless.
Police say they have no clue about the cause of the fires ravaging Bataka village, months after the first case was registered last November.
Ms Josephine Angucia, West Nile region police spokesperson said; “It is puzzling, but we shall keep on investigating the case because the families have continued to suffer from these fires”.
“It is indeed mysterious, although we haven’t concluded on who is burning the houses,” she added.
Detectives combed the village last week in an attempt to establish the source of the fires or arrest some suspects. They, however, returned empty-handed.
Residents said each of the affected houses was just seen blazing, even when there had been no fire inside.
Mr Patrick Mundua, one of the affected persons said, he is heart-broken to see his children sleep outside in cold nights. “I am worried that if I construct another house, it may also burn. I have failed to know what crime I committed for this person using magic to burn our houses.”
The mystery surrounding the infernos has driven speculations of witchcraft, prompting residents, non-governmental organisations and religious leaders to organise special prayers for divine intervention.
While on a mass at one of the affected homes on Saturday, Fr Jino Adroni, the Parish Priest for Tara Sub-Parish, asked people whose houses have gone up in smoke to turn to God and pray in order to defeat the evil in the society.
“The nature of the burning gives us a clue that this is just an act of witchcraft, the man of God noted,” adding: “Some small powers are trying to disturb human beings. These powers are much less than the power of God. If we are in unity with our God, these powers which appear to shake people will go.”
Shortly after the prayers, three more houses went up in smoke. Mr Sunday Asau, the executive director of Vision for Humanity, said the victims lost food stuff and household property.
“Since they are sleeping outside, we organised mosquito nets, cooking pots, plates, cups, clothes and some food. Our focus right now is on these emergency needs so that we can slowly prepare for humanitarian activities.”
Such mysterious fires are not new in the area.
Five years ago, over ten houses were mysteriously consumed by inferno in Pio village in Maracha District. In 2015, another set of six houses in Yivu Sub-county went up in flames whose origin could not be traced.