- RDC’s detailed explanations
- Both civilian and a police officer had personal grudge before
- Tortured man not in danger according to Doctor.
- Police officer under detention
The Resident District Commissioner [RDC] of Dokolo, Lawrence Emmy Egole, has launched investigations into the alleged torture of a civilian, Denis Opio.
Opio who’s a resident of Awidi Cell, Acoto Ward in Dokolo Town Council was kicked in the stomach on 25th March 2020.
This follows his brutal arrest by a police officer, Engim Felix who’s attached to Agwata Police Outpost.
Opio, part of the 14 civilians arrested during curfew hour [around 10pm] in an operation that was jointly conducted by police, LDUs and the army, was the only unlucky man to suffer.
With his fellow drunkards, according to information TND News has obtained, they took off after seeing a police patrol van with eight police officers.
While the patrol team were able to arrest Mr Opio and thirteen others, he was the only one who was tortured.
Upon arrest, this publication understands that they were taken to Agwata Police Outpost. However, around 3am, same day, Opio’s health condition worsened and had to be transported to Dokolo Health Centre IV for management.
Dokolo RDC clarifies
In a phone interview with TND News on Wednesday evening, RDC Lawrence Egole confirmed that Opio is currently admitted at Dokolo’s top government health centre.
The RDC, however refuted allegations being spread that a man confined to bed at the health center was tortured by the military or LDUs. He said it was “not true”.
“According to our [preliminary] investigations, it looks like there was a personal grudge between Opio and a specific police officer. He [Engim] took advantage of the curfew and tortured Opio. That’s also a report from the victim himself – he pinpointed a specific police officer who tortured him,” he added.
Mr Egole adds that this incident happened during curfew hours.
“It’s true the civilians were found outside while drinking around 10 O’clock in one of the trading centres. That day fourteen were arrested in total; about five were arrested from the same trading centre with Opio,” Mr Egole who’s the head of district security team reveals
“As usual, when they saw a police patrol van coming, they dispersed. So, this time police parked some distance away and walked to the drinking venue. When they saw police approaching them, they took off and then this particular police officer who led the team [who also hails from Agwata] and another seven from Dokolo CPS, started running after them,” the RDC further explained.
The RDC said it’s true that the trading centre patrolled that day [night] is “a notorious trading centre where people [drunkards] do not listen to guidelines and they stay up to late hours”.
“When we took off, the police officers pursued us so they could arrest us but one police officer called Engim Felix concentrated on me. When I was running, I suddenly saw a parked police van. The driver who was inside shone a bright light to my face. I couldn’t see properly and I fell down. When I fell down, the police officer landed on me and gave me one hard kick in my stomach,” Mr Egole, narrated Opio’s statement to TND News.
“He was operated because there was a problem with his intestines following the hard kick,” RDC tells the publication.
The suspect is said to have developed too much pain while in detention and had to be transported in a UP motorbike, accompanied by a police officer to Dokolo HCIV.
The next day – in the morning he was seen by a Doctor who didn’t work on him until next day – according to RDC.
“From there, the doctor told me he examined the patient in the morning but was looking too drunk and ‘showed signs he drinks for too long without eating’,” the RDC continued, quoting the Doctor.
The Doctor further briefed the RDC that Opio kept complaining about his stomach and his abdomen had to be operated to examine what could be the problem. The doctor, according to the RDC found there was “some problem with his intestines” which was “cut on a small portion” and re-joined”.
On why the operation was done from Dokolo HCIV, the RDC added that according to the Doctor – there was “no complication so it could be done from there”.
On the accused police officer
The RDC, in the same interview, said: “Because all statements from his fellow police officers who were on duty and the tortured civilian pin Egima Felix, he has been detained as investigations continue.”
“Initially we arrested all the eight police officers but seven were released on police bond after recording statements.”
He added: “I don’t allow beating of people and the people of Dokolo know that. The person who is involved will take personal liability,” the diligent Egole softly said.
For nearly a month that Opio has been in pain at Dokolo HCIV, the RDC says he wasn’t aware until the night of Sunday 19, April 2020 when he visited him. The following day, Monday 20 April 2020, he told our reporter, the preliminary investigations were launched.