Man Who Climbed Electric Power Line in Mbarara was Mentally Impaired

The man who climbed a Medium Voltage Utility Power Pole in Mbarara with the intent of ending his life on Tuesday has been found to be mentally challenged, according to a physiatrist report from Mbarara Hospital.

The man believed to be in his 20s’ climbed an electric pole and held onto the transmission cables while swinging in the air for more than an hour. However, according to power distributor UMEME, the 11 KVA line had been disconnected to prevent electrocution.

Rwizi Region Police Spokesperson Samson Kasasira says that the man only identified as Frank was subjected to a Mental check at Mbarara Regional Referral Hospital shortly after he was rescued down from the electric line. Kasasira adds the suspect mentioned a different name every time he was asked to identify himself but he was consistent about hailing from Isingiro District.

A subsequent report has shown that he is battling mental challenges. Thomas Kabagambe the Principal Psychiatric Clinical Officer at the Mental Unit in Mbarara Hospital says that the suspect who has since escaped from the unit had a mental illness caused by drug abuse. He adds that the behaviour could have been triggered by illusions arising out of excessive use of cannabis, marijuana and related drugs.

Byron Baine, the Operations Manager of UMEME Mbarara says that the man was acting violently, throwing bolts at spectators and those who had come to rescue him, until a sand truck parked adjacent, to ease his ability to descend. He added that the action is not only dangerous, but it is also punishable by law.

Musa Mugabe a Taxi tout operating from the Post Office stage who witnessed the incident said that the man walked from the supermarket and proceeded to an electric pole until he held onto the supply line.

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