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RDC Accused of Beating Residents in Enforcement of COVID-19 Guidelines

The residents include Justine Odieny and John Ebwongu, both residents of Amoru Cell, Kokas Opolot of Onyakai Cell and Patrick Aporu of Omagoro Cell, in Soroti West Division. They were allegedly beaten on July 16, 2021, by soldiers who were acting on the orders of the RDC during an operation in Arapai shortly after 5 p.m.
John Ebwongu, one of the people allegedly beaten by RDC's men.

Audio 3

Four residents of Arapai Ward in Soroti West Division have accused the Resident District Commissioner Patrick Okumu of beating them up for allegedly flouting Presidential guidelines on COVID-19.

The residents include Justine Odieny and John Ebwongu, both residents of Amoru Cell, Kokas Opolot of Onyakai Cell and Patrick Aporu of Omagoro Cell, in Soroti West Division. They were allegedly beaten on July 16, 2021, by soldiers who were acting on the orders of the RDC during an operation in Arapai shortly after 5 p.m.

Justine Odieny, one of the victims of the beating says he had gone to Adwongtar trading centre, about 500 meters from his home to buy medicines and airtime when the soldiers descended on him from the sidewalk and pounced him with batons. He says that no one told him the crime he had committed to deserve the beatings until he fell down on the verge of collapse when the soldiers finally asked why he was walking without a face mask.

//Cue in; “I came back home…

Cue out…to police.”//

John Ebwongu, another resident who was beaten at Iwoloi trading centre told our reporter that the soldiers descended on him after he remained standing when all the people run for dear life. He adds that he was wearing a facemask and had just bought a piece of soap to take to his home when the soldiers arrived.

He was found lying in his house at 9:27 a.m. the following day in a lot of pain, yet he could not afford treatment in private clinics.

//Cue in; “Apupi eong aijar…

Cue out…nesi abu eong eliko”//

The assaulted victims say that after the beating, they couldn’t access any medical treatment from government health facilities because they were denied police forms to enable them to seek medical attention. Odieny says that attempts to open a case with the police against the soldiers and RDC have been frustrated by the police in Arapai and Soroti Central Police Station.

//Cue in; “They said that…

Cue out…come back home”//

Fred Kyobe, the officer in charge of Soroti Central Police Station says he ordered the officers at Arapai Police Post to refer the complainants to CPS but the group did not show up. Kyobe said that there was no case reported with the police to warrant a police form for treatment.

But RDC Patrick Okumu said the allegations against him are part of a smear campaign by a few politicians and technical staff to frustrate his work.