Police officers held over shooting

Ugandan police

Four police officers have been detained over the shooting of striking tobacco workers, which left two people dead and several others injured.

The dead have been identified as Dennis Bazara and Benard Byabasaija. Ms Sylivia Kabasuinguzi, who was seriously injured in the incident, has been admitted to Hoima Referral Hospital.

Investigations

The Mid-western Regional Police Commander, Mr Marcelino Wanitho, told journalists that investigations have revealed that the guns of two of the arrested police officers were used to fire live bullets during the strike.
The British American Tobacco Company Workers on Tuesday staged a sit-down -strike, protesting the delay by the company to pay their August salary.

Strike stopped

Anti-riot police rushed to the BAT office located in Kabati, a suburb of Hoima Town and fired in the air and used tear gas to disperse the workers who had been joined by disgruntled farmers. The latter were reportedly protesting the delay by the firm to pay for their tobacco.Mr Wanitho said the officer commanding the riot police and the officer in charge of Hoima Police Station, who were at the scene, will be charged with negligence of duty by the police disciplinary committee.

“They failed to effectively command the police which went to the scene and ended up shooting unnecessarily at innocent civilians,” Mr Wanitho said, adding that the police officers who fired the live bullets would be charged with murder.

Mr Wanitho apologised to the public and the bereaved families over the incident.
“It is regrettable, unfortunate and police is sorry about the shooting,” Mr Wanitho said.
“The IGP (Gen Kale Kayihura) has appointed a team from the police headquarters which will team up with our detectives here to investigate this incident,” Mr Wanitho said.

Victim speaks

“I saw a police official aiming a gun at me as I was running out of the factory. He shot me. I fell down and started bleeding on my right leg. I realised I was shot. I am in deep pain. I pray I survive,” Ms Kabasinguzi said at Hoima Hospital.

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