Rubanda Police are holding 11 people accused of trafficking marijuana. The suspects were picked up in the wee hours of Friday morning along Kabale-Kisoro road.

Daniel Ecwatu, the Officer in charge of Muko Police Post, says the suspects were found transporting marijuana on their motorcycles. He however, declined to disclose the identity of the suspects for fear of jeopardizing their investigations.

Adding that, some of the suspects have been on the police list of most wanted. There are over 1200 marijuana farmers in Rubanda district. Over 1000 of these are found in Ruhija sub county.

Despite being a banned sub substance in the country, Marijuana is attractive to the farmers because of the ready market in neighboring Rwanda, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Mbarara and Kampala.

Some of the residents, say they opted for Marijuana growing since it can’t be destroyed by stray animals from Bwindi impenetrable national park.

Although tea growing was introduced to replace Marijuana production, residents are yet to embrace it.

In a separate development, the Principal Judge, Yorukamu Bamwine has cautioned police against harassing and torturing inmates in custody. He was responding to complaints by Brian Kasibante, an inmate at Kiboga government prison on Friday, where he had gone to sensitize inmates on plea bargaining.

During his visit, Justice Bamwine asked the inmates to share their experiences while in custody. While narrating his experience Kasibante, complained of torture during arrest and custody in police cells.

He said some of the suspects are tortured by police upon arrest and compelled to confess to crimes they didn’t commit. Kasibante also accused police of withholding some of the belongings and money recovered from suspects before they are locked up.

In his response, Bamwine cautioned police against torturing suspects adding that, everybody deserves a right to better living. “Please the law is very clear everybody arrested is taken as a suspect not until the court proves him or her guilty why should you torture the suspect?” he asked.

“Please judiciary doesn’t allow that and any police officer brought before the courts of law over torturing suspects surely will be exemplary to others” he warned. He urged the inmates to embrace plea bargaining, saying it is a short way to resolve disputes.

Under plea bargain, a suspect agrees with the prosecution to plead guilty to a lesser offense in exchange for a lenient sentence. According to Bamwine, over 2500 cases have been resolved under the plea bargaining arrangement since the program was introduced in 2014.

He said the program has been so successful in Bushenyi Kasese Mbarara and Kabarole districts. John Maganda, the Officer in Charge of Kiboga Prison Services, says 33 inmates including 12 on murder, 16 on aggravated robbery and five rape suspects embraced the program and were tried before the Mubende Resident Judge, Elizabeth Nahamya,.