Uganda: Woman Dies After Police Teargas Besigye Supporters

Police apologised after the incident (file photo).
27 December 2017

Lira — A woman who sustained injuries and inhaled teargas when police stormed Lira Main Market last month to prevent Dr Kizza Besigye from addressing a rally, has died after one-month sickness.

Anna Adonyo, a vendor in Lira Market, died of suspected tear gas effects on Friday at her home in Adekokwok Sub-county where she had been bedridden for a month.

While dispersing people who had gathered at the Mayor's Gardens next to Lira Market last month, police indiscriminately fired teargas canisters at the crowd who had gathered to listen to Opposition politician Besigye. The deceased and another unidentified person were seriously injured.

The provost of All Saints Cathedral Boroboro, Rev William Ongeng, said Adonyo developed breathing complications after inhaling teargas which was fired at the traders at Lira Market.

Rev Ongeng said Adonyo became sick and was unable to talk until the day she died as a result of suspected teargas injuries and effects.

"She has been bedridden for over a month, having had respiratory and chest problems. She has had difficulties in breathing and could not even talk apart from coughing all the time due to the effects of the teargas she had inhaled," Rev Ongeng said on Saturday.

He said medical records show that she needed specialised treatment in Kampala, but she could not raise the money. He did not disclose how much money was required for her treatment.

After the November incident, police authorities in Lira District apologised.

They explained that stopping Dr Besigye was only intended to avoid possible violence and chaos in Lira Town since he had been joined by hooligans.


Erute South MP Jonathan Odur, in whose constituency the deceased home is, condemned the police brutality which he said led to the death of the innocent woman.

"The police under the command of DPC Joel Tubanone now have the blood of this innocent woman on their hands and all must now face the law," Mr Odur said.

Last month police ordered FDC supporters to vacate Lira Mayor's Gardens where they had gathered for a rally of Mr Patrick Oboi Amuriat, who was then canvassing votes in northern region to be elected FDC party president. He was expected to appear with the FDC founding president Dr Besigye at the rally.

When the crowd, which was eagerly waiting for Dr Besigye's arrival did not yield to orders to vacation, the police fired teargas and bullets to disperse them.

In the running battles, another person was shot by police at Lira All Nations Christian Church opposite the Mayor's Gardens.

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