The Territorial Police in East Kyoga has arrested two of its officers who face charges of gross misconduct and excessive use of force that caused physical harm to protesters in Soroti Municipality.
A clip of the police officers angrily kicking and stomping an FDC supporter in the middle of the road, was widely shared in the media, causing public outrage.
One of the officers could be seen in the phone recording, warning the people in the car to stop filming him, before he turned around and kicked about one of the FDC members, while his colleagues tried to restrain him.
Police spokesman Fred Enanga says the two were arrested to show that the force will no longer tolerate criminal behavior
“We have meanwhile charged our officers ASP Sibomana Gerald and PC, Mutengu Denis with Assault, Torture and irregular conduct, which clearly demonstrates our resolve to robustly address all forms of criminal behavior and abuse of authority, to purposely uphold high standards of our policing,” Enanga says.
“All our officers are reminded of their duty to uphold the law and display high levels of professionalism in the course of their duties.”
The police spokesman however, also blamed the opposition party for provoking police officers to use excessive force.
On Monday this week at around midday, Police in the municipality deployed to counter an FDC rally at Independent gardens.
The Police went in to stop the meeting as the organizers had not formally notified the police.
Enanga says the FDC supporters were “dispersed peacefully, under the leadership of Mr. Eigu Daniel, the LCIII of Kamuda Sub County.”
However, two hours later, the opposition supporters resumed mobilization of the masses, by driving through the town with loud speakers.
“They drove towards Serere road; and parked in the middle of the road, adjacent to the public gardens. The FDC Party President, Hon. Amuriat Patrick Oboi, started addressing people who had gathered alongside the road using a microphone. When our officers arrived and tried to engage them, they locked the car doors and switched off the car engines,” Enanga says.
“They eventually drove off towards the new market, where they again parked their vehicles blocking the road, and disrupting other road users. This prompted the deployment of a Fire Fighting truck, to tow away the vehicles that had blocked the road. It is at this stage that, the driver of M/v reg.no. UAN 637S, blocked the Fire Fighting truck from the rear and prevented it from reversing to tow the motor vehicle which was carrying the FDC Party President.”
At this point, Enanga the police started arresting some of the FDC members until one of them, Okeng Abdul, turned violent and confronted PC Mutenga Denis.
“He was however, subdued and led to the patrol car, but managed to escape. The hunt for him is on.”
In the meantime, the other suspects who included; Hon. Amuriat Patrick Oboi, Eigu Daniel and Okwir Justine Kokas, were charged with participating in a procession without notifying police, as required under section 5 of the POMA. In addition, Aisu Joseph Akol was charged with malicious damage to property under Sec.335 of the PCA, after he knocked and damaged the police sign post.