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Besigye barred from distributing relief food to Katakwi

By Emmanuel Alomu

Added 6th April 2017 10:46 AM

The Katakwi District Police Commander (DPC), Bashir Siriba said they had only allowed the FDC team to distribute relief food not to address a rally.

Besigye barred from distributing relief food to Katakwi

Rowdy residents of Toroma county, Katakwi district give Besigye a heroic welcome. Photos by Emmanuel Alomu

The Katakwi District Police Commander (DPC), Bashir Siriba said they had only allowed the FDC team to distribute relief food not to address a rally.

Former Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) presidential candidate, Rtd Col Dr. Kiiza Besigye has been blocked from distributing relief food to the starving residents of Toroma County,  in Katakwi district.

As Besigye and his team approached Toroma Sub-County headquarters, where the distribution was supposed to take place at around 11.30am, on Wednesday, Police fired rubber bullets and live bullets to scare away hundreds of people who had gathered to receive the food.

esigye addresses the people before handing over food reliefBesigye addresses the people before handing over food relief

 
The Regional Police Commander (RPC) East Kyoga, Francis Tumwesigye said the district authorities were not informed about the distribution. He also said the food needed to be examined before being given out to the people.

Later the Police allowed them to carry on with the distribution exercise at Toroma Town Board. But the Police later on started to fire tear gas and bullets, when Besigye and his entourage began to address the people.  A stampede ensued.  The people who had gathered to receive food suffered for about three hours.

Business at the Town Board, Toroma Health Centre IV and Atoroma Primary School also came to a standstill.

 en  ugisha untu handing over food relief to ishop baikol in oroma subcounty Gen. Mugisha Muntu handing over food relief to Bishop Obaikol in Toroma sub-county

 
Attempts by the retired Bishop of Soroti Anglican Diocese, Charles Bernard Obaikol Ebitu to settle the impasse also seemed fruitless as the shooting of live ammunition and teargas continued.

The Katakwi District Police Commander (DPC), Bashir Siriba said they had only allowed the FDC team to distribute relief food not to address a rally.

During the chaos, eight people were injured and rushed to Katakwi General Hospital and Toroma Health Centre IV for medical attention.

 olice firing tear gas in oroma sub county  Police firing tear gas in Toroma sub county

 
The injured include Adris Virali,55, Betty Ikilai, 29, (the LC-1, Kelim village), and  Max Okiror who had come to supervise the food distribution. Others are Julius Onaba, Vincent Akileng and Mzee Lawrence Opolot, 80.

Two pupils of Atoroma primary school, who were not yet identified by press time, were also injured. A grass-thatched house belonging to one Charles Otim caught fire after a bullet or tear-gas canister fell on it.

Addressing a few brave people who had remained at Toroma Sub -County Headquarters during the chaos, Besigye said the 2,000 bags of posho, each weighing 5kgs, were meant for the 2,000 worst affected families especially the elderly, pregnant mothers and persons with disabilities.

 esigye checking the injured persons at oroma health centre  Besigye checking the injured persons at Toroma health centre IV

 
He said it was unfortunate that the Police had blocked starving people from receiving food yet it was the mismanagement of the country that was responsible for hunger.

The FDC Party President, Gen. Mugisha Muntu said it was the responsibility of government to distribute food to the starving people and FDC was just extending a humanitarian hand.

Muntu handed over the food to retired Bishop Obaikol, one of the directors of CRI, to be distributed by the local leaders at a later time.

 ast yoga rancis umwesigye talks to esigye and the team at oroma sub county headquartersRPC East Kyoga, Francis Tumwesigye talks to Besigye and the team at Toroma sub county headquarters

 
Obaikol said the food had no political connotation because hunger affected all people, regardless of their political affiliation.

Besigye was accompanied by the Kampala Lord Mayor, Erias Lukwago, FDC Deputy President Joyce Nabbosa Ssebuggwawo, FDC Mobilizer Ingrid Turinawe and the Kawempe South MP, Mubarak Muyangwa, among others.  The FDC team also donated clothes to the elderly.

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