23 January 2019

Uganda: Cyclist Dies After Being Hit By Speeding Car, Residents Barricade Road in Protest

Traffic at Koro Abili trading centre along Gulu-Kampala highway in Koro Sub County, Omoro District was on Tuesday paralysed for more than five hours after rowdy residents barricaded the road.

The road was blocked after a speeding government pick-up truck registration number UG 2031S for Water and Sanitation Program moving towards Kampala hit a bodaboda rider carrying three passengers.

The accident occurred at about 8.30am when the bodaboda rider identified as Mr Alfred Opiyo (UEK 976M) was carrying Ms Stella Ajok and her two children, Tracy Adoch and Prisca Lanyero, to St Luke Health Centre II, 100 metres from the trading centre.

Mr Opiyo died a few minutes later while Ms Ajok and her two children were rushed to Gulu referral hospital by the same truck that stopped at the next traffic check point and returned with police officers to the scene.

Using tree stumps, logs and rock boulders that were piled across the road, none of the vehicles from either Kampala or Gulu side could move across as police took several hours to arrive at the scene of the accident.

It was not until 2pm when Omoro District LC5 chairman, Mr Douglas Peter Okello arrived at the scene to calm the angry residents and convinced them to clear the road.

One of the residents, Ms Jenifer Aol said the protest was prompted by frequent occurrence of accidents at the trading centre caused by reckless motorists along the highway.

"We are not going to open the road if we do not get an assurance from Uganda National Roads Authority (UNRA) and our district leaders on when the government will start putting humps on this road," Ms Aol said.

"Our persistent demands to UNRA to put humps at this trading centre to control speeding motorists have since fallen on deaf ears amid numerous promises to come and assess the spot," said one of the protestors, Mr Richard Nyeko.

In a space of three weeks, nine road accidents have occurred within the area and claimed four lives.

While at the scene, Mr Okello's phone call to UNRA's regional manager who in turn pledged to immediately ensure humps are put at the centre, was enough to impress the crowd to abandon their protest.

"Please let us open the road. I am sure the UNRA manager will honour his promise now that he says humps shall be put here with immediate effect," Mr Okello told the crowd.

Mr Patrick Jimmy Okema, the Aswa river region police PRO in a statement confirmed the accident and that the driver of the truck, Mr Francis Tumwebaze is in police custody at Bobi Police station in Omoro District.

"The cyclist, one Alfred Opio passed on a few minutes after being admitted to Gulu Referral Hospital and the body is in Gulu Hospital mortuary pending postmortem," Mr Okema said on Tuesday.

According to him, the other victims, Ms Ajok and her two children were admitted to the Emergency Unit of Gulu Referral Hospital while the motor vehicle and the motorcycle are all parked at Bobi police station.

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