The gunshot victim is Bazil Asindua, a resident of Ediofe village in Arua city. Asindua met his fate at Manibe sub-county headquarters on Tuesday morning as he and his brother only identified as Mawa rode on a numberless motorcycle to attend the funeral of their late father in Terego.
He explains that when they approached a police checkpoint at Manibe, a police officer identified as Odong who is attached to the National Forestry Authority (NFA) ordered them to stop and surrender their motorcycle. He says a scuffle broke out prompting Odong to slap him on the face and accusing him of failing to wear a face mask.
“After slapping me twice, I also had to slap him and we were later taken to sit under a near-by a mango tree at the sub county, but I realized the kilo of meat and some other food items we were carrying home had fallen by the roadside,” Asindua told officers from the Professional Standards Unit (PSU) on Wednesday.
He explained that he tried to get up and pick the items from the roadside but Odong cocked his gun and shot a bullet in the air. He reportedly turned his gun and aimed at him and shot his right toe as his brother Mawa looked on.
“Many people who were at the sub-county scampered for their lives on hearing the gunshot but for us we told Odong and his two colleagues to kill us if they wished as I started bleeding,” Asindua narrated.
According to Asindua, the officer accused them of not wearing face masks yet they had them in their pockets, riding a numberless motorcycle and carrying a passenger in contravention of the Covid-19 standard operating procedures.
The two were later picked up by a police patrol and driven to Arua central police station where they were locked up. Asindua was later taken to Arua police health centre III where his toe was dressed before he was asked to return home. Mawa remained in the cells until Wednesday when he was released unconditionally prompting them to report the matter to the PSU in Arua.
Evans Vuata, the commandant of PSU in West Nile, says the police officer used excessive force and urged Asindua and his brother to report the matter to the Criminal Investigations Directorate.
“If they had a case to answer, then they should have been brought to the CPS not resorting to shooting the way he did,” said Vuata. He urged the victims to report the case warning that if they refuse, PSU will pick it up.
Josephine Angucia, the West Nile Region police spokesperson declined to comment on the matter, saying she wasn’t aware of the incident.