16 Security Officers Arrested Over Brutal Elegu Crackdown

Sixteen security personnel have been arrested on allegations of torturing residents of Elegu Border Post in Amuru district.

The security personnel were arrested from Elegu Town Council on Sunday after residents accused them of battery and inhuman treatment during a crackdown to close down lodges.

The arrested  include six soldiers; Lance Corporal Awany Abwoli(the commander of the operation), Private Rogers Amanya, Private John Mark Ebogo, private Ayezibwe Elia, Private Mukanya Muhammed and Private Mutege Robert.

Arrested police officers attached to the Field Force Police (FFP) include: Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP) Richard Balenzi, Sergeant Charles Musazi and Corporal Jacob Odong. Others are police constables  Kenneth Rubangakene, Bosco Okello, Augustine Opio, Gervious Byamukama, Jusfer Okello, Moses Opado and Jimmy Okello.

Aswa River Region Police spokesman Patrick Jimmy Okema said on Monday that the police officers are being held at Gulu Central Police Station while the soldiers are at  4th Division barracks in Gulu.

Okema said the police has issued forms to 38 victims of the alleged torture to fill, including 32 women and 6 men. Their case is being investigated by Police Professional Standard Unit at Aswa.

Margaret Auma, the Elegu Women Cross Border Traders and SACCO Chairperson said that the security team on 2nd April 2020 stormed Lorokwo West Village, Elegu Town Council, and used sticks to beat up 32 women whom they accused of prostitution  and operating in different lodges even after the president had banned public gathering and closed lodges.  Auma alleges that the officers made the women and some men to roll in mud as they beat them.

One woman is nursing serious wounds in the buttocks at the 4th Division Army Barracks Health Centre.

Police spokesman Okema regretted the incidence and warned that security officers against torture while  in the course of their duty.

Leader of Opposition in Parliament (LOP), Betty Aol Ocan has condemned security brutality, describing it as dehumanizing.

The Elegu  Crack Down

 On Thursday last week a security team comprising of the army and police raided Elegu border post after information emerged on 1st April 2020 during the Acholi and West Nile Regional Coronavirus Taskforce meeting at the 4th  division army barracks in Gulu that some lodges were still operating even after the presidential directive to have them closed. There after security closed 12 lodges.

At the meeting, Amuru District Chairperson Michael Lakony  raised concerns that some of the lodges were operating as brothels and commercial sex workers were still in the area with several truck drivers  booking in the  lodges.

The 4th Division Army Commander Brigadier General Bonny Bamwiseki who chaired the meeting promised that security will respond to the concerns and have the lodges closed with immediate effect.