Police in Busia District in eastern Uganda are investigating circumstances under which a man who had been arrested for allegedly violating curfew rules died in the office of a village chairperson.
Mr Moses Mugwe, the Bukedi Region Police Spokesman, told this reporter that the deceased was arrested by Tiira Village LCI chairman, Mr James Obilimong for allegedly violating curfew directives that were announced by President Museveni recently as one of the measures to contain the spread of Covid-19. Mr Obilimong is said to have locked the suspect up in his office after the arrest.
Following the death, Mr Obilimong and his defense secretary are on the run.
“Preliminary findings are that the deceased was arrested by both officials and locked up in the LC chairman’s office, only to be found hanging on a rope, dead. Whereas the deceased was found hanging on a rope, suggesting a possible suicide, as police, we are interested in knowing whether he hanged himself or was killed by the officials,” Mr Mugwe said on Monday.
He added: “We think Mr Obilimong and his accomplices are on the run because they have not turned up to the police station to record a statement nor speak to investigating officers from the homicide department.”
Mr Geoffrey Ojambo, a resident, said the deceased was found moving past curfew hours and locked in the chairperson’s office from where he was found hanging on a rope.
Onlookers at the scene, however, wondered why the officials locked up the suepct in their office instead of taking him to Tiira Police Station, which is located a few metres away.
According to Mr Mugwe, whereas the deceased had violated curfew directives, it was wrong for the chairperson and his team to lock him in their office which is not a designated detention facility.
“Offices of LC1 chairpersons are not designated detention facilities; so, as police, we are interested in knowing why they decided to hold somebody in an illegal facility,” Mr Mugwe said, adding that the rope which is suspected to have been used by the deceased to commit suicide belonged to the fugitives.
The deceased is believed to be from the Karamojong ethnic community and police are appealing for help from members of this community to have his body identified.
A team from the homicide department took the body to Busia Health Centre IV for an autopsy to establish the cause of death.
Source: The Monitor