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Man Sets Car Ablaze in Amuru Protesting Alleged Police Discrimination :: Uganda Radionetwork
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Man Sets Car Ablaze in Amuru Protesting Alleged Police Discrimination

Balidawa told Uganda Radio Network in an interview that his action was fueled by what he alleged as targeted discrimination by a police officer for his faith as a Muslim.
Suudi Balidawa (inset), a driver and resident of Elegu Town Council in AMuru District flees for safety after setting ablze his car on Wednesday in protest. Photo By Julius Ocungi

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A 49-year-old man on Tuesday evening shocked residents of Elegu Town Council in Amuru District at the Uganda-South Sudan border when he set his car ablaze.

Suudi Balidawa, a driver and mechanic at Elegu Town Council reportedly drove his car, a Toyota Wish registration UBE 852E to an open field, where he doused its interior with petrol before setting it ablaze.

The incident happened at about 5 pm at Lorikwo East village in Elegu Town Council, a few distance from Elegu Police Station.

Balidawa told Uganda Radio Network in an interview that his action was fueled by what he alleged as targeted discrimination by a police officer for his faith as a Muslim.

According to Balidawa, trouble started for him on May 7 this year when he accidentally hit an old woman with a vehicle from Kanyanya in Kampala on his way to Gulu City.

Balidawa said while he managed to transport the injured woman to Mulago National Referral Hospital for treatment, he never reported the police since he was transporting his daughter to St Mary’s Hospital Lacor for medical treatment.

He however noted that he had met with the injured woman’s son and agreed to return to the hospital later for other arrangements regarding medical expenses.

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According to Balidawa, he received a phone call later from a police officer at Kanyanya Police Station who advised him to report the matter to any nearby police station which he heeded and reported to Elegu Police Station on May 9.

He was charged with an offense of road traffic accident registered under case No: TAR27A/2024 and later bonded but advised to report to Kanyanya Police station the following day.

Balidawa however alleged that while at Kanyanya Police Station, he was rudely treated by the Officer in charge of the station and detained even when he had earlier been given a police bond from Elegu Police Station. 

He alleged that after his release, the police at Elegu Police Station gave an order to him not to drive the vehicle outside Elegu Town Council even when he had already paid for vehicle inspection, a move he says forced him to burn it down.

Balidawa noted that he had already agreed with the family of the injured woman to pay 3 million shillings for medical expenses within 25 days adding that the first payment of one million shillings had already been made.

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David Ongom Mudong, the Aswa West River Region Police Spokesperson told Uganda Radio Network Wednesday that the police have opened an investigation into Balidawa’s action to ascertain the motives.

He said the Police Fire Brigade personnel responded to the scene but found that fire had already consumed a great portion of the vehicle.

Mudong acknowledged that Balidawa had an active case of a traffic offence at Kanyanya Police Station in Kampala which was still under investigation by the traffic police.

“We want to understand why he burnt down his car since he already had a traffic accident offense in Kanyanya. the suspect could be having other hidden motives,” said Mudong.

Uganda Radio Network understands that Balidawa was on Tuesday briefly held by the police at Elegu Police Station between 7 pm to 10 pm for interrogation on his actions before being set free without any charges.

Mudong said the suspect would be charged with arson once the investigation is complete.   

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