Hon. Anthony Akol (L), Opiyo Felix (C) and Jacob Okumu (R) addressing the media on police brutality in northern Uganda. Opiyo and Okumu received donations from Mr. Akol to support them with oxen and ox-ploughs.
“I am mad on what is happening in Uganda now. The worst case of brutality happened in Apaa, Amuru district on September 7 last year during which Uganda Peoples’ Defense Forces (UPDF) and police injured more than 80 people; two had their right hands amputated and eleven are still missing. We have tried our best to move forward with Uganda Human Rights Commission (UHRC) but nothing happened”
GULU-UGANDA: the Member of Parliament (MP) for Kilak North constituency, Amuru district in northern Uganda, Mr. Anthony Akol, has accused law enforcement agencies in Uganda of sectarianism when handling cases of brutality by security agencies.
He made the remark on Monday, August 7, 2016, during a press briefing in a Gulu town where he handed over 10 million Uganda shillings ($2963) to Opiyo Felix (27) and Okumu Jacob (26). The two youths had their hands amputated after a scuffle with security personnel in Apaa village, Amuru district on September 7, 2015. The money is to enable them buy oxen and ox ploughs to support their families.
Akol said government was quick to act when supporters of former Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) presidential candidate, Dr. Kizza Besigye, were beaten from Kampala streets recently, but nobody reacted in a similar manner when unarmed civilians of Apaa were brutalized. The scuffle with the security officers left over 80 people injured, two amputated and 11 are still missing.
On that fateful day police allegedly shot at unarmed civilians who were protesting the forceful putting of mark stones to demarcate the boundaries between Amuru and Adjumani districts. The community claimed the move was meant to grab their ancestral land. Police however has since denied that version, saying the two who were amputated were injured because of their own mistake when they picked unexploded bombs, trying to throw at the police which according to police exploded.
“I am mad on what is happening in Uganda now. The worst case of police brutality happened in Apaa, Amuru district on September 7 last year during which Uganda Peoples’ Defense Forces (UPDF) and police injured more than 80 people; two had their right hands amputated and eleven still missing. We have tried our best to move forward with Uganda Human Rights Commission (UHRC) but nothing happened”, says the legislator.
Police recently took action by charging some of its commanders over allegation of beating up people using sticks. The people who had lined up along the way to welcome opposition leader, Dr. Kizza Besigye back home from prison after being released on bail on treason charges. The Inspector General of Police (IGP), Gen. Kale Kayihura was recently dragged to court over the same issue.
“When things happen in Kampala like the beating of civilians using sticks by security agencies, people react promptly, but when it comes to similar case in northern Uganda, nobody reacts. These people are suffering locally. We are looking for private lawyers to help them if the world cannot help them”, says the legislator.
On July 28, 2016, Uganda Human Rights Commission (UHRC) released its 263-page 18th annual report (2015). The report revealed that the UHRC received a total of 4,227 complains, marking an 8.27% increase from 3,904 human rights violation complaints registered in 2014. Uganda Police Force (UPF) remained on top of the list of violators of Human Rights in 2015 with 385 (50.65%) of the cases, private individuals 182 (23.94%) and UPDF 97 (12.76%).