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Human Rights Lawyer Gathering Evidence on November Protests

Opiyo, who is also human rights lawyer, notes that days after the incident they formed a team and started gathering evidence from districts of Wakiso, Kampala, Iganga, and Luuka.
Nicholas Opiyo displaying a photo of a lifeless body of one of the people who were shot dead during the November 2020 riots

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The Executive Director of Chapter Four Uganda Nicholas Opiyo says they have started gathering and documenting evidence on the November 2020 riots.

Riots broke out in different parts of the country shortly after the arrest of the National Unity Platform president, Robert Kyagulanyi Ssentamu during his campaigns in Luuka district and subsequent detention at Nalufenya Police Station for alleged violation of COVID-19 guidelines.  

Hundreds of people power supporters took to the streets demanding his immediate release.  According to the government, 54 people were killed in the protests and several others injured by security personnel while quelling the protests.

Opiyo, who is also human rights lawyer, notes that days after the incident they formed a team and started gathering evidence from districts of Wakiso, Kampala, Iganga, and Luuka.

However, he adds that in December, their offices were broken into by security officers who confiscated all the documents that had been gathered about the protests.

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Opiyo says that since the documents were confiscated, they couldn’t seek justice for the families of the victims. He however adds that they have now embarked on re-documenting evidence and rebuilding their file.

He says that although they don’t know how long the process will take, they are determined to collect all the necessary evidence to uncover the lies that have been told by the government regarding the incident.

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Opiyo also disputes the number of dead presented by the government claiming that when security officers broke into his office, his team had so far gathered evidence indicating 132 people who had lost their lives. 

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Charles Twine, the spokesperson of the Criminal Investigations Department, said they are still investigating riot killings.  

In December, President Yoweri Museveni, quoting a partial report availed to him by director Criminal Investigations Directorate, Grace Akullo, said out of the 54 people killed in the protests, 20 of them killed people were innocent.

The President also said that government will compensate those who lost their lives and properties, but not compensate those who died and were rioters.

To seek justice, several family members of the deceased and those that sustained serious injuries have been seen petition the speaker of parliament, others have tried to stage demonstrations to raise their voices while a few have dragged the government to courts of law.   

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