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Boda boda cyclists in Jinja pin police over extortion

Some of the boda boda riders arrive for a meeting at Kakindu stadium.

Jinja, Uganda |  THE INDEPENDENT |  Boda Boda cyclists in Jinja district on Wednesday protested the alleged extortion by police officers during curfew hours. 

The angry motorists parked their motorcycles in the middle of the different streets around Jinja central division before holding a meeting at the Kakindu stadium parking yard. 

Police officers later intercepted them along Gabula road where they were convinced to peacefully vacate the roads. 

Led by their chairperson, Eria Musobya, the riders argue that ever since the lockdown started, some of his colleagues have been arrested over violating presidential directives but instead of taking legal action, the police ask them to pay money before they are released. 

Musobya says that riders found carrying passengers are either tasked to pay between 5,000-10,000 shillings. 

“Most of these motorists ferry patients or at times health workers during curfew hours but security personnel who patrol roadblocks request for money before letting them go even after explaining the prevailing circumstances,” he says. 

Farouk Kyate, a Boda Boda rider from Masese stage says that individual policemen have created temporary roadblocks intending to extort from unsuspecting cyclists and motorists. 

Kyate adds that the riders are temporarily detained for a night and whoever pays the required amount of money is set free. 

Ali Mwidhu, a rider from Bugembe town council says that he was intercepted along the Jinja-Iganga highway early last week and the policeman who initially faulted him for over speeding demanded 10,000 Shillings in exchange for his freedom. 

Abby Ngako, the Kiira region police spokesperson, denies the allegations but tasked all victims to file formal complaints with police authorities which he says will ease their access to justice.

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