Lango crisis: Five man Presidential probe committee in Lira on Friday

On Saturday, some locals protested against Indian traders by blocking roads and burning woods. File photo.

Lira – A committee of five people appointed by the President’s office is set to arrive Friday [today] in Lira district to kick start forensic investigations into the deteriorating security situation in the district and the conduct of some security officials in the entire North Kyoga Region.

TND News Uganda can exclusively reveal that the team is headed by security minister, Gen. Elly Tumiwne who has strict instructions from the president to turn every stones upside and down following the recent riot in Lira Municipality.

The last week’s protest in Kole district and Lira town saw police engaging in running battles with residents who were protesting the alleged killing of Dickens Okello who was just 11 years old by two Indian nationals trading in Lango sub-region.

Others on the Committee, according to our impeccable sources include Lands, Housing and Urban development minister Betty Amongi Akena and Hillary Onek Obaloker, disaster preparedness minister.

Lira Resident District Commissioner Milton Odongo has however feigned ignorance of the probe committee’s coming to his district.

“I am not aware they are coming, all I know is that Gen. Elly Tumwnine has a function to attend at Aduku UCC on Friday,” Odongo said Thursday.

What sparked the probe?

This contemporary news website is privy to the cabinet meeting that was held on Monday this week as it is the tradition. However, this time, it was not business as usual because the deteriorating security situation in Lira took center stage.

It should be recalled that on Saturday that teargas and live bullets rained on locals and protestors in Lira town, President Museveni was in Agago district to grace the thanks giving ceremony of deputy chief Justice, Alfonse Owiny Dollo.

Our sources say the Head of State was already aware of the tension in Lango following the death of Dickens Okello who was buried the same day, Saturday.

Unity Fm radio – 97.7 was also forced off air allegedly on orders of Lira RDC Milton Odongo to Joel Tubanone, the district Police Commander. The raid on the radio saw eight staff of the same radio arrested, released after three days, rearrested and released ‘finally’ on Wednesday.

The Lango controversy was top on the agenda of cabinet meeting, with government ministers expressing concern on the issue at hand and how it risk the lives of Indian Business community as well as damaging international ties between Uganda and India whose prime minister Neranda Modi  visited Ugandans few months ago

It is also not a public secret that president Museveni has investors at heart and has always jumped to their protection and, our source says he pressed to know what was happening on the ground from Lango ministers.

A minster (she) is said to have told the president that much as the people of Lango are bitter over the death of Dickens Okello, the media, citing Unity FM in particular incited the community against leaders and Indian investors and asked that it should be switched off for some good months.

It was at this point that the president asked for calmness while discussing the matter and resolved that a committee be constituted to probe circumstances that resulted to the chaotic scenes witnessed in Lira town and also, the president has been quoted to have blamed police for messing up with the investigations.

What lies ahead of the Gen. Tumwine’s Committee?

As Gen Tumwnine, an NRA bush war veteran and his team steps foot in Lira, there is high expectations following series of complaints registered by workers against their employers.

Early this year, there was a case of David Ogwang casual laborer at Mt. Meru, oil producing factory. It was alleged that his Indian employers tortured him and smeared chili powder on his anus.

Much as a case was reported to police, the case never saw the light of day in court and the Indian investors accused walked scot-free. It was alleged that police received bribes and messed up investigations into the case.

Read: Lango security chiefs asked to step aside for independent audit into Asian torture  

Recently another young lady came out to complain on how she was being harassed by his Indian employers and at one point brutalized while at work. The case which was reported at Juba Road Police post also collapsed.

It is against this background that the local community sought to take the law into their own hands after it emerged that the Kole boy could have been strangled by Asian nationals.

Gen Elly Tumwine’s committee now has the opportunity to investigate why the local community has lost trust in police investigations whilst lack of trust on the justice system.

Also to be probed is what appears to be a syndicated money minting scheme by the police who have been accused of getting money from accused investors to kill numerous criminal cases.

Until then, the people of Lango will be waiting on the committee and its reports to restore sanity in the region and as to when Unity Fm will be taken back on air and what becomes of the fate of those who were shot at during the Saturday riot in Lira and Kole towns.

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