Uganda: Police Stop Protest Against Electricity Outages in Lira

Business in Lira Town was yesterday brought to a standstill when police and military personnel broke up a protest against power outages. The security operatives fired bullets in the air and teargas and beat people protesting against Umeme, the electricity distribution company.

Former Oyam South MP Ishaa Otto, former Erute North MP Charles Angiro Gutomoi, former councillor in Oyam Patrick Omara and youth representative at Lira Municipal Council Mike Adoko were arrested shortly after starting the protest march against Umeme in Jinja Camp, Lira Town at around 9:50 am.

They were bundled into a police vehicle and whisked away to Lira Central Police Station where they were recording statements by the time of filing this report.

The security operatives, who were led by District Police Commander Robert Ssematta, and Rapid Response Unit commander Jacob Kiyengo, charged at protesters on Juba Road near a Umeme sub- station.

The police fired bullets in the air and tear gas to disperse the protesters. Other security agents in plain clothe beat protesters with sticks. Speaking at Lira Central Police Station, the organiser of the protest, Mr Otto, said he was beaten severely.

“My state is bad,” Mr Otto said on phone. “I was seriously beaten all over the body and bundle into a pick up truck and taken to CPS.” Mr Omara said he may have suffered a fracture on the shoulder following severe beatings by the police. Mr Omara said he was feeling a lot of pain.

The central north police spokesperson, Mr Henry Alyanga, said the police were not heavy-handed in handling the protest.
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