Uganda: Turkish National Rescued From Mob Over Suspected Defilement

A Turkish national recently survived a mob in the oil-rich Hoima district after he was suspected of having a sexual affair with a high school girl.

The suspect only identified as Humid arrived in Hoima district in 2013 as an expatriate worker of Kolin construction Ltd, a company which was contracted to build the Hoima-Kaiso-Tonya road.

The road which was formerly murram was upgraded to tamack and was commissioned in February, 2015. The road links Hoima town, a mid-western regional administrative and business hub to Kaiso-Tonya area where Tullow oil and Hardman Resources discovered commercially viable oil reserves.

After the road was completed, Mr Humid opted not to return to Turkey with hundreds of his fellow Turkish nationals that he worked with on the road project.

He instead remained in Kabaale trading centre in Buseruka subcounty where he set up a local bar and restaurant which he runs with his Ugandan wife.

How he was arrested

This month, Mr Humid was attacked by a mob in Hoima town after he was spotted entering Bhojan hotel with a high school girl.

The locals suspected him to be having an affair with the girl who was dressed in a school uniform.

The girl was putting on a white long sleeved shirt, a blue skirt, white stockings and black shoes. Mr Humid was putting on open shoes, a faded blue jean, a brown T-Shirt and a cap.

After learning that Humid had entered a room with the girl, locals stormed the hotel demanding for his arrest.

According to eye witnesses, locals started banging the door to the room where Humid was with the girl until he was forced to open for them.

He claimed to be a guardian of the girl, says Richard Mwesigwa, who witnessed the scene.

After being unconvinced by his claims, locals called in police to have Humid arrested on suspicion of defilement.

Uniformed and plain clothed police officials rushed to Bhojan hotel which is located along Hoima Main Street. By the time police arrived, an angry mob had surrounded the hotel, threatening to lynch Humid.

He was hand cuffed by police and transported using a motorcycle to Hoima central Police station for further investigation.

Suspicious release

What shocked local residents, is that Mr Humid barely spent an hour at Police and he was released without any charges preferred against him.

"He was taken to the office of the CID where he was interrogated. He was released after detectives found that there was no case to prefer against him" the Mid-western regional Police spokesperson Mr Julius Hakiza said.

According to Police, Mr Humid denied having any sexual affair with the high school girl. He instead claimed to be a guardian to the girl, Hakiza said.

During interrogation, police says Humid claimed that he was called by relatives of the girl informing him how the girl had been chased from school until she clears the outstanding school fees balance of Shs 150,000.

According to a source at Hoima central police station, Police saw a gate pass which the girl obtained from school and corroborated the information with the parents of the girl who confirmed that indeed Humid was a guardian.

Asked whether the police did any medical examination on the girl and Humid to prove whether there was a sexual affair between the two or not, Hakiza said no tests were done.

There is wide speculation in the public that witnessed the incident who suspect that some police officials who were involved in arresting Humid could have deliberately bungled the case.

"I have crosschecked from Hoima central police station that there was no (case) entry but we shall follow up to establish why it was not opened" Hakiza who seats at the Midwestern regional police headquarters said.

The Midwestern regional police headquarters are located about 800 metres away from Hoima central police station.

A covert police operative who requested not to be named said the regional crime intelligence and the police professional standards unit are closely following up the matter to ascertain whether no procedures were flouted by Police officers that handled the case.

Violence by expatriates

The oil-rich Bunyoro region has hundreds of expatriate workers employed in oil-related projects such as roads, Hoima International Airport, power stations and oil companies.

There are human rights concerns surrounding the conduct of expatriate workers. In august this year, two Chinese nationals fought and one of them lost a life.

The deceased was working with WUSZ company, one of the subcontractors constructing Hoima International Airport.

It is alleged that Zhang Zhang ate eggs belonging to Zong Gap lu which sparked a quarrel between the two.

Police said the deceased was cut on the stomach with a sharp knife during a fight and he died due to over bleeding. Zong Gap lu, a 50-year old Chinese national was arrested and charged with man slaughter. He was remanded to Hoima prison but he is out of jail on court bail.

Assault by Chinese national

In August, a Chinese national working for China Railway No.5 Engineering Group was arrested over allegations of assaulting and injuring Darius Tuhimbise, a Ugandan grader operator.

The suspect only identified as Wang was working with a company contracted to tarmac the Kigumba-Masindi-Hoima-Kabwoya road.

Mr. Wang was detained at Hoima police station but he denied the assault charges that police preferred against him. He is currently out of Police on bond.

The Hoima Resident District Commissioner John Stephen Ekoom who chairs the district security committee said Mr Wang was arrested during a security meeting at the China Railway No. 5 camp after workers accused him of assaults, harassment and illegal detention of workers.

By Oil in Uganda correspondent in Bunyoro

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