Four officers of the Uganda Police Force (UPF) are in critical condition after a group of people in Manafwa District beat them up for stopping mbalu festivities on July 18.
The group had gathered from the the sub counties of Kaato and Bunabutsale.
The event to launch their circumcision calendar which takes place every even year was due at Namakhele, Bumukhama, Bunabutsale Subcounty in Manafwa District.
The gathering was in violation of Ministry of Health (MoH) guidelines for the prevention of Covid19.
Even the Inzu Ya Masaaba, the Bugisu Cultural Institution leadership, had issued directives against gatherings for celebration of circumcision rites (imbalu).
When Police in Manafwa learnt of the gathering, which also flouted President Museveni’s directive on public gatherings, it sent officers to stop the celebration.
“Police had gone to inform them not to risk putting people’s lives in danger by Crowding in one place which could cause infection of Covid19,” said Ahmed Washaki, the Manafwa Resident District Commissioner (RDC).
RDC Washaki is the head of security and Covid19 committees in the district.
“The people refused police orders to cancel the event and leave the venue. “This prompted the police to fire live bullets and teargas into the crowd, leaving some injured,” an eye witness told The Pearl Times.
“The shooting continued for some time until officers ran out of bullets and tear gas. They raised their hands in the air as a signal that they had surrendered.”
Washaki said the people “cut and hit the police officers” with stones, pangas and sticks which they had carried to the festivities.
Two of the four police officers, including an OC, were rushed to hospital in critical conditions.
As people pelted stones at officers, two civilians also sustained injuries.
The RDC praise police officers for exhibiting professionalism officers “when they faced this attack to avert casualties.”
Washaki has now appealed to the people of Manafwa District to “desist from defying Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) and attacking law enforcement officers during this Covid19 period.”
Months ago, security agencies warned Ugandans harassing officers.
Hitherto, attention had shifted to rogue LDUs, with some calling for the disbandment of the unit. But UPDF said it wasn’t considering decommissioning the auxiliary security force.