One person has been shot dead and another one seriously injured in Busia town as police fired live bullets and teargas to disperse residents, who had raided a police station to lynch a suspected kidnapper.
Police identified the deceased as Fred Musiba, a tomato seller in Sofia market and the injured as Musa Mayende. He is currently admitted at Tororo hospital after sustaining deep wounds on his left thigh.
The chaos erupted on Wednesday evening after the residents got unverified information that a suspected kidnapper, who was found with a child, concealed in a big bag in Busia Taxi Park, had been detained at Busia Police Station.
The angry protesters demanded that police handover the suspect to them, something police was not willing to do. They started pelting stones at police officers, forcing police to intervene by firing teargas and live bullets to disperse them.
Police speak out
The District Police Commander, Mr Eriya Elepot, confirmed that one person died during the fracas but said they were awaiting the postmortem report to establish the actual cause of his death.
He, however, added that they had talked to residents to stop the siege at the police station but they could not listen.
“They instead starting pelting stones at police officers, who were keeping law and order, forcing them to hit back with tear gas and live bullets,” he said.
Mr Elepot explained residents also attacked and besieged court premises where they had taken suspects, forcing them to further heavily deploy to curtail any further violence.
“The rowdy residents had first blocked a police patrol car that was taking suspects to court. They besieged the court premises and we had to respond,” he said.
He, however, explained that the man the residents, wanted to lynch was not a criminal but a Kenyan national, who was looking for a house to rent.
“We had to rescue him from the rowdy residents. We did not find him with a child as they were alleging,” he said.
During the fracas, the angry residents also blocked roads in the town paralyzing traffic for hours.
The residents told Daily Monitor that the deceased and another man who sustained severe injuries had been hit with stray bullets fired by the security agencies.
“They were hit by stray bullets but luckily, one of them survived and has been taken to the hospital,” Ms Rosette Tumusime, one of a resident, said.
Ms Tumusime, however, said as residents, they are angered by failure by police to stop cases of kidnap and murder.
“We wanted to do it ourselves because police has failed. They have arrested him today and tomorrow, he will be released,” she said.