Sky beam lights may be a usual occurrence in urban areas especially at entertainment spots, but in some rural settings, these long range light rays are still a very strange phenomenon.
Residents of Rubanda and Kabale districts in South West of Uganda will live to tell the tale of December 27 when they witnessed a strange event that caused a major scare.
As weird as it sounds, sources told SoftPower News that the lights viewed from a far caused mayhem among people in the two districts who thought it to be a tornado.
Villages were engulfed in loud screams at around 8pm after locals sighted the sky beam lights. Majority believed it was a tornado, locally called ‘eshato’.
Traditionally, in Kigezi, when a tornado made a landing, those who sighted it first, would get pangas, drums and other sound-making objects, and screamed, believing this would scare it away.
This is what occurred on Friday night.
It took the intervention of Police authorities in Rubanda district to calm the situation down.
A Police officer deployed in Rubanda told this news website that the lights had been erected at Makutano Hotel, a new hotel facility located in Kisizi in Rukungiri district. It is situated in Kisizi lower, opposite Kisizi hospital.
But since it was night time, the rays would be seen as far as areas of Rubanda and Kabale.
In another interesting turn of events, some thought it to be solar eclipse while others panicked suspecting the lights were from Rwanda and feared it to be an act of war.
This panic and misinformation forced the District Police Commander (DPC) of Rubanda district to make an impromptu radio appearance on Radio Rubanda to clear the air. He told the listeners that there was no need for an alarm and that the lights meant no harm.
Tornadoes are not a new phenomenon in Kigezi region. Although they were a thing of the past, the most recent one occurred this year in January.
A tornado categorized as a watersprout hit Lake Bunyonyi in Kabale district, leaving residents stunned.
Numerous videos captured by surprised onlookers showed a funnel-like shaped whirlwind which formed a vortex from the thick cloud over Lake Bunyonyi to the waters close to Harutinda landing site.
Residents who witnessed it could be heard screaming loudly at the watersprout.