Uganda: Ldus in the Spotlight Over Attack, Looting in Agago

The police in Kitgum and Agago districts have launched investigations into circumstances under which three Local Defence Unit (LDU personnel from Kigtum crossed into Agago and reportedly robbed residents and traders under the cover of enforcing lockdown curfew.

Daily Monitor has established that three security personnel from a military detachment in Omiya-Anyima Sub-county in Kitgum District, crossed on motorcycles into Omiya-Pachwa Sub-county in Agago where they allegedly committed the acts.

Mr Quinto Obita Okot, a trader at Lumoi Trading Centre in Lumoi, Omiya-Pachwa, claimed the armed LDU personnel attacked them last Tuesday before retreating on Friday.

"On arrival, they started beating everyone they came across at Lumoi Trading Centre. As the people fled, they entered into shops and threatened to shoot shopkeepers who failed to give them money," Mr Obita said.

He added: "They came from Kitgum at around 6.30pm and were being guided by one of the crime preventers from Omiya-Anyima," Mr Quinton Komakech said. He claimed the LDUs took from him Shs500,000 and 20 litres of petrol.

"Much as we have an army detachment here, these security personnel have come here many times, but this time, they took our money and property, yet it was not yet 7pm (curfew time)," Mr Komakech said.

Some of the traders who said they had also lost money and property are Mr Albino Aboda Okot (Shs200,000) and Mr Samuel Komakech (Shs380,000).

It is alleged that Mr Komakech's wife was severely beaten while breastfeeding her twin sons inside the shop after she declined to open the safe.

Lumoi Trading Centre is located near the Agago-Kitgum district border, 10km from an army detachment at Omiya-Anyima Sub-County.

Mr Raymond Otim, the Omiya-Pachwa Sub-county chairperson, said four traders were attacked during the incident and at least Shs1m and merchandise worth Shs500,000 was taken from them.

"We traced these security officers who rode on numberless motorcycles up to their detachment. However, we followed up the issue with the Kitgum Resident District Commissioner but have not received any response," Mr Otim said.

Mr Komakech said on Friday another pair of armed personnel returned to the area in the evening and again beat up some residents.

"They were arrested and we agreed with the detachment to sort out the matter on Monday, but we found the detachment empty as all the soldiers had been withdrawn," Mr Komakech said.

When asked about the deployment protocol, Mr Hammed Hassan Kato, the UPDF 5th Division spokesman, told Daily Monitor that he was out of the region. But Mr Linos Ngompek, the Agago

Resident District Commissioner, said his attempts to get in touch with the authorities in Kitgum to recover the stolen property and settle the matter have been futile.

"I have called the Kitgum RDC, Mr Komakech, so that we can sort out this matter diplomatically and ensure the people who lost their properties recover them," Mr Ngompek said. He said the police in Agago have launched an inquiry into the matter.

Mr Komakech (RDC Kitgum), said: "We heard of that incident where some security officers from my district crossed into Agago last week and robbed people under the guise of enforcing curfew, but they have been arrested."

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