Uganda Police Force under the Territorial Police in East Kyoga has arrested and charged two of its officers on allegations of gross misconduct and excessive use of force that caused physical harm during the control and dispersal of illegal protestors in Soroti Municipality, on the 20/01/2020.
At about 12:30pm on the fateful day, information was received of an unlawful gathering at the Independent gardens by the FDC Party and a vehicle had also been hired that went making announcements and inviting the public to the gardens to attend the rally.
The DPC and his team proceeded advised the gathering to disperse, since they had not formally notified the police and indeed they dispersed peacefully, under the leadership of Mr. Eigu Daniel, the LCIII of Kamuda Sub County.
However, after two hours, a procession of 4 motor vehicles came driving along the main street of Soroti. These included a Toyota Hilux, red in color reg.no.UAX 815R, with loud speakers; an Ipsum, white in color, reg.no. UAN627S; Land Cruiser V8, white, reg.no. UBF 042E and Land Cruiser, White, reg. no. UBD 486Y. They drove towards Serere road; and parked in the middle of the road, adjacent to the public gardens.
The FDC Party President, Hon. Amuriat Patrick Oboi, started addressing people who had gathered alongside the road using a microphone. “When our officers arrived and tried to engage them, they locked the car doors and switched off the car engines.”
Fred Enanga the police spokesperson, says that they eventually drove off towards the new market, where they again parked their vehicles blocking the road, and disrupting other road users. This prompted the deployment of a Fire Fighting truck, to tow away the vehicles that had blocked the road. It is at this stage that, the driver of M/v reg.no. UAN 637S, blocked the Fire Fighting truck from the rear and prevented it from reversing to tow the motor vehicle which was carrying the FDC Party President.
As a result, the police started effecting arrests but one of the occupants in the Toyota Ipsum, identified as Okeng Abdul, turned violent and confronted PC Mutenga Denis. He was however, subdued and led to the patrol car, but managed to escape. The hunt for him is on.
Meanwhile, the other two vehicles were driven to Soroti CPS and the drivers issued with EPS tickets. In addition, M/V reg.no. UAX 815R, which was carrying loudspeakers was upon inspection, found to be in a dangerous mechanical condition by the IOV, it was deregistered and the owner charged with using a Public Address System without the required permission, under section 40 of the Police Act.
The suspects who included; Hon. Amuriat Patrick Oboi, Eigu Daniel and Okwir Justine Kokas, were charged with participating in a procession without notifying police, as required under section 5 of the POMA, while Aisu Joseph Akol was charged with malicious damage to property under Sec.335 of the PCA, after he knocked and damaged the police sign post.
“We have meanwhile charged our officers ASP Sibomana Gerald and PC, Mutengu Denis with Assault, Torture and irregular conduct, which clearly demonstrates our resolve to robustly address all forms of criminal behavior and abuse of authority, to purposely uphold high standards of our policing. All our officers are reminded of their duty to uphold the law and display high levels of professionalism in the course of their duties” Enanga noted.
The duo appeared on camera beating up one of the protesters in Soroti in an inhumane manner. The video was widely spread on social media, leading to criticism of the Force by members of the public.