Teargas engulfs Kampala as boda riders protest colleague’s death

Teargas engulfs Kampala as boda riders protest colleague's death

Kampala, Uganda | By Michael Wandati | Clouds of teargas filled the skies of Kampala City on September 12, 2023, police clashed with boda boda riders who were protesting the tragic death of one of their colleagues.

The enraged riders openly directed their frustration towards the police officers, holding them responsible for the incident that resulted in their colleague being struck by a garbage truck on Eighth Street, Industrial Area.

Eyewitnesses at the scene reported that the rider lost his life while attempting to evade arrest by traffic police and KCCA traffic wardens.

“As the rider tried to merge onto the road, the garbage truck collided with the front tire of the motorcycle, causing it to fall in the middle of the road, where it was subsequently struck by the truck,” recounted another rider to our reporter.

The protesters gathered in big numbers and tried to attack police officers prompting police to fire teargas to disperse them

Subsequent to the incident, three boda boda riders have been taken into custody at the Central Police Station in Kampala on charges of participating in an unlawful assembly and hurling stones at traffic officers.

The Deputy Kampala Metropolitan Spokesperson, Luke Owoyesigyire, identified the apprehended suspects as Stephen Komakech and Byamukama, with a third unnamed suspect detained at Jinja Road Police Station.

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Deputy Kampala police spokesperson, Luke Owoyesigyire

Owoyesigyire explained that the troubles began when approximately 100 boda boda riders blocked off key roads including Jinja, Kampala, Yusuf Lule, and Mukwano Roads within the Civil Parish of Kampala Central, around 9 a.m. on September 12, 2023. They subsequently initiated stone-throwing incidents directed at traffic officers who were stationed near the Jinja Road traffic lights. This led to a prompt police response and the arrest of the three suspects.

Boda boda riders protest colleague’s fatal accident.

“Upon investigation, the incident has been connected to a fatal accident that occurred earlier at around 8:50 a.m. on 8th Street. The Kabalagala Police are conducting a comprehensive examination of the accident, which involved a motorcycle bearing registration UFP 327T, ridden by the victim, Mr. Kimbowa Steven,” he stated.

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Owoyesigyire clarified that the motorcycle had been struck by a Hino vehicle with registration number UBG 834M, owned by the Homeklin company, a waste management firm. He further mentioned that the driver, identified as Atuhaire Emmy, initially left the scene but was subsequently apprehended by Kabalagala Police. Atuhaire has cooperated with law enforcement by providing his statement concerning the events leading up to the accident.

An ongoing investigation is underway to ascertain the exact cause of the accident. Owoyesigyire appealed to all parties involved to maintain composure during this investigative process. The deceased, Steven Kimbowa, has been transported to the City Mortuary for postmortem examination, and normal traffic flow has been restored in the affected areas.