Ugandan security teams have killed 6 people in COVID-19 operations during lockdown

A demonstrator is arrested in Kampala
A demonstrator is arrested by police at a protest for more government food distributions during the Covid-19 crisis, 18 May in Kampala, Uganda. COURTESY PHOTO/(Sumy Sadurni/AFP via Getty Images)

Kampala, Uganda | URN | Six lives have been lost in the hands of security agencies implementing COVID-19 guidelines over the last 75 days when the country was under a lockdown which was declared to contain the spread of the deadly disease.

The victims were shot by soldiers of the Uganda People’s Defence Forces –UPDF, Uganda Police Force –UPF and Local Defence Units –LDUs who were enforcing orders intended to curb the spread of the contagious diseases.

They include Margret Nanyunja, 80, who died after LDUs raided her home in Kyengera town council along Masaka road in Wakiso district on April 10. The LDU personnel allegedly forcefully entered Nanyunja’s home claiming his grandson had defied COVID-19 orders.

Her grandson Andrew Mbazira later told journalists that LDUs raided their home at around 1 am and beat up her grandmother when she asked them for a search warrant.

“When we opened the house, our eyes landed on security personnel. They forcefully entered. My grandmother was in the sofa set and she quickly questioned them why they had come in wee hours of the night,” Mbazira said.

Wilber Kawono, a resident of Budaka district was shot by policemen on April 18. Budaka District Police Commander –DPC Shadia Nabunya told journalists that Kawono had carried a passenger on a motorcycle which was against President Yoweri Museveni’s ban on public transport.

Nabunya said Kawono disobeyed an order to stop prompting a policeman to shoot the motorcycle tyre but he accidentally shot directly at Kawono causing his death.

Evelyn Namulondo, a resident of Budhumbuli in Jinja town was shot in the stomach by security personnel in camouflage when she was going to purchase her stall’s merchandise on a motorcycle. It was at around 5 am and she later succumbed to bullet wounds at Jinja hospital.

James Wako, a Chapati seller in Jinja said she heard gunshots and only realised that someone had been shot after seeing Namulondo groaning in pain. While in the hospital before her death, Namulondo said she spent some minutes seeking to be evacuated to a hospital in vain. Nevertheless, a boda-boda cyclist rode her to Jinja hospital where she died three days later.

Charles Sanga, a businessman also died after he was allegedly attacked by soldiers and policemen led by the interdicted Jinja Resident District Commissioner –RDC Erick Sakwa, on accusations of defying President Museveni’s orders. The RDC was arrested and charged with manslaughter. The case regarding Sanga’s death is currently in court.

Vincent Serungi, a resident of Wakiso town council was also shot and killed on March 31st on accusations that he was riding a motorcycle against COVID-19 orders.

Kampala Metropolitan Police spokesperson, Patrick Onyango said Serungi’s suspected killer Constable Stephen Wafula was arrested and charged with murder in Mukono court.

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The UPDF First Division Spokesperson Maj Yusuf Katamba said UPDF had taken the necessary action to penalize all those that have beaten civilians during COVID-19 lockdown.

Besides those that have died, there many who are still nursing bullet wounds. Shadia Kauda, a resident of Kiwanga, Goma division in Mukono district was shot in the thigh by police chasing youth allegedly disobeying Covid-19 orders.

Alex Oryema and Kasim Ssebudde were shot at Misindye, Goma division in Mukono Municipality. The duo was shot on March 27 while heading to a construction site on their own motorcycle with a bag of building implements.