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Police in Kitgum Stuck With Capital Offenders As Courts Remain Closed

Security personnel say the suspects were arrested on separate days shortly after courts were suspended and have since remained in detention at Kitgum central police station.
A sign Post for the Chief Magistrates Court Kitgum. Photo By Julius Ocungi
The police in Kitgum District is stuck with nine suspects accused of committing capital offences as courts remain closed. 

This follows the suspension of court hearings and appearances in the country last month, by the Chief Justice Bart Katureebe due to coronavirus disease outbreak.

Security personnel say the suspects were arrested on separate days shortly after courts were suspended and have since remained in detention at Kitgum central police station.

Kitgum Resident District Commissioner William Komakech says that five were arrested on allegations of committing murder.

Komakech says he has received reports from police who are now complaining of being overwhelmed with keeping the suspects without appearing in court.

According to Komakech, the challenges have been largely due to the absence of the Resident State Attorney [RSA] in the district.

“The court couldn’t operate because the RSA wasn’t around, we have now sent a vehicle to fetch him from Bugiri district to allow us to start prosecuting and remanding some of the suspects,” Komakech says.

He notes that the suspects will soon be arraigned in court once the resident state attorney arrives in the district.

Robert Oken, the officer in charge of criminal investigation at Kitgum central police station says due to the closure of courts, many people are defying the covid-19 directives.