ARUA. Hundreds of people have gathered at Arua Municipality Member of Parliament, Maj. Ibrahim Abiriga’s home to grieve with his family in Anyafio cell, Arua Hill Division in Arua Municipality.
This is after receiving the news of the untimely death of the National Resistance Movement (NRM) legislator who was known for championing the removal of the Presidential age limit cap which has given chance for President Yoweri Museveni to rule beyond the mandatory 75 years.
Abiriga was gunned down by unknown people few meters away from his home in Kawanda, Wakiso district on Friday at about 6:00pm (East African time).
He was killed in cold blood with his younger brother, the late Saidi Butele who at the time of his demise was MP Abiriga’s bodyguard.
But the people of Arua have described Abiriga as a loving person who never deserved to die in such a gruesome manner.
Ms Zaitun Onzia, a resident of Tanganyika ward in River Oli Division said: “We are saddened by our MP’s demise. It is going to be hard for us to get somebody like Abiriga here in Arua Municipality.”
She added that Abiriga used to help everybody right from the time he was the resident district commissioner (RDC) both in Arua and Yumbe districts.
“Many of us have benefited from his hands. Much as he had his own political challenges, we never expected our MP to be killed like that because we still loved him,” Onzia added.
Mr Juma Hatwib, the chairman of Arua Muslim district described Abiriga as a God fearing person.
“Abiriga was a true Muslim who was close to Allah by obeying all the Muslim doctrines. When it came to prayers, he was always there,” Hatwib said.
He said Abiriga loved everybody regardless of religion, tribe and status, a reason he stayed with any person.
Hatwib observed that it is unfortunate that Abiriga was killed during the Ramadhan period but he prayed for his assailants to be apprehended.
According to Mr Salim Saleh Drasi, Abiriga’s young brother, the deceased was a humbled person back home.
Drasi said Abiriga died at the age of 62 and is survived by 10 children and one widow.
Mr Jackson Atima, the chairman burial arrangement committee has confirmed that Abiriga will be laid to rest at his ancestral home in Lokudu village, Rhino Camp Sub County, Arua district.
He said Abiriga’s body will be taken to the Parliament of Uganda for his former colleagues to pay their last respect before it is flown to his home in Arua town at 2:00pm where it will spend the night up to Monday.
Before making it to parliament after defeating four opponents, Mr Abiriga had served as the resident district commissioner for Yumbe and Arua districts after President Yoweri Museveni accepted proposal from late former Vice president Gen Mustafa Adrisi to appoint him.
A veteran of disbanded Uganda Army under former president Idi Amin Mr Abiriga joined the Uganda National Rescue Front under the current deputy premier Gen Moses Ali.
The rebel group that mainly operated in the West Nile region struck an understanding with Mr Museveni’s then National Resistance Army and when Mr Museveni shot his way to power in 1986 the bulk of the UNRF combatants were absorbed into the national army but Mr Abiriga was not.