Police in Gulu District have detained a 12-year-old boy for reportedly knocking a boda boda rider while driving a car.
The boy is not a licenced driver since in Uganda, a driving permit can only be acquired by people who are 18 years and above.
The victim sustained serious injuries and was taken to Gulu Regional Referral Hospital and later transferred to St Mary’s Hospital Lacor, where he died on arrival.
The Saturday evening accident happened opposite Gulu University main gate in Laroo Division, Gulu Municipality.
The boy whose identity has been concealed since he is a minor, was reportedly driving a white Toyota Vitz car Reg. No. UAR 531S.
Police identified the deceased as Denis Otto, 40, a Boda boda rider and resident of Laroo Division in Gulu Municipality.
Gulu District Police Commander, Mr Emmanuel Mufundo confirmed the incident in an interview with Daily Monitor on Monday.
Mr Mufundo said the deceased’s body is still lying in the hospital morgue pending a post-mortem.
Mr Mufundo said police have arrested and detained an uncle of the minor who is also the owner of the vehicle for interrogation.
He said the boy in his police statement said he was sent by his uncle to take the vehicle for repair in one of the garages in Gulu Municipality, an assignment he has been executing regularly.
Information Daily Monitor obtained from the Traffic Department at Gulu Central Police Station indicate that the boy’s uncle refuted the boy’s claims that he gave him the car key.
According to his statement, he wasn’t at home by the time the child picked the key from the family house and that he was not aware that the boy has ever sat behind a steering wheel.
The boy, according to the uncle, was training to become a motor vehicle mechanic in one of the garages in Gulu Municipality.
Mr Mufundo said police would slap charges of negligence leading to death and reckless driving on the minor while the uncle will be charged with permitting a person to drive a vehicle without a driving permit, rush and negligence, causing death.
He said the suspects’ files will be taken to the Resident State Attorney for further advice before they are produced in court.
In Uganda, a child in conflict with the law is criminally responsible at the age of 12.
“This is so irresponsible and criminal on the side of the uncle of the boy to give him a vehicle knowing he is a minor who has no driving permit,” Mr Mufundo said.
Both the minor and his uncle are detained at Gulu Central Police Station as investigations continue.
Deceased family in talks
Mr David Ocaya, the deceased’s brother told Daily Monitor that they are willing to forgive the suspect since he is a minor who never intended to cause his brother’s death.
“We are already talking with the family of the boy, they are cooperating with us during this sad moment. We shall sit down with the clan elders to ensure that we come to a common agreement,”
The deceased is survived by a wife and four children.