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Two People Shot In Lira Anti-Indian Protests, Radio Station Shut Down

At least two people have been shot in riots that broke out in Kole district and Lira town in northern Uganda.

Riots started Saturday afternoon during the burial of Dickens Okello, an 11 year old boy who was allegedly murdered by two Indians earlier this week.

The riots which spread from Kole to Lira town in the evening, involved residents who were protesting against Indian business people in the area.

The chaos started at around 2:00pm during the burial of the Primary School pupil as agitated mourners tried to prevent police from participating in the funeral.

Our reporter Patrick Akena who happened to be the MC at the funeral, told us mourners were against police and some of the district leaders speaking at the funeral.

“When I invited the district chairman to speak, the people shouted him down and ordered him off the stand,” he said.

“Some of the police officers, sensing danger, started departing one by one. But the mourners responded by hurling moulds and water bottles at them. Police fired in the air, which sparked the chaos.”

At Alito Trading Centre, just a short distance from where the boy was killed, some two people were reportedly shot.

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Meanwhile in Lira town, protests broke in the afternoon following reports that an Indian man had poured fuel on one of his local employees and tried to set him alight.

Police used live bullets and teargas to quell the situation.

Police officers led by DPC Joel Tubanone stormed the studios of Unity FM and ordered everybody out before shutting it down.

This reporter, who also works at the station, says the DPC accused the radio of inciting the people.

“But we did not incite anyone; we were just trying to expose the acts of some of the officers in handling this crisis,” Akena spoke to us in hiding.

Gunshots could be heard in the background as he spoke.

Meanwhile, there were unconfirmed reports that at least one Indian businessman was attacked and killed by the protesters.

There were also reports of looting of some of the businesses owned by Indians in the area.

Speaking to us on phone, the DPC denied knowledge of deaths in Lira town.

He, however, said he couldn’t confirm the shootings in Kole, being out of his jurisdiction.

“Everything is getting back in order as we speak, we have restored calm,” he said.

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