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Bukedea residents task police to explain death of suspects in custody

Two suspects died in police custody in Bukedea.

Bukedea, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Residents of Kachumbala sub county have tasked the police to explain the sudden death of two murder suspects while in police custody.

The two suspects; Joseph Okwalinga alias Golola and Michael Ojakol died in two separate incidents on Saturday. Ojakol was allegedly found hanging in a one cell at Bukedea Central Police Station while Okwalinga is reported to have fainted and died while in a search for exhibits.

Both victims were suspects in the murder of one Francis Opolot, that occurred on Christmas in Akunyuko village, Kachumbala sub county in Bukedea district. Ojakol was a brother and key suspect in the murder of Opolot who was hacked to death from his home.

Although the East Kyoga Regional Police Spokesman, Oscar Gregory Ageca indicated in his press release on Sunday that the duo allegedly committed suicide, relatives say that the suspects were tortured and died due to injuries inflicted on them.

Robert Omuriakori, the former LCII chairperson of Akunyuko parish and a relative to Ojakol says that the police brought Okwalinga and another suspect identified as Paul Angura to search for the exhibits allegedly used in killing Opolot on Saturday. It’s during this search that a panga that had blood stains was recovered in a swamp at Suula village in Kocheka sub county.

According to Omuriakori, the officers then descended on the suspects, beating them until Okwalinga collapsed. Afterwards, the police quickly arranged for an ambulance that transported him to Mbale Regional Referral Hospital where he was pronounced dead on arrival.

Joseph Okwalinga Epidu, the father to Okwalinga, one of the deceased suspects says his son did not have any illness that would make him faint and die suddenly.

Ageca said that the bodies are still at Mbale Regional Referral Hospital for postmortem, which he notes will help clear doubts by the relatives. In his press statement on Sunday, Ageca allayed fears and insinuations of foul play in the death of the two suspects.

“We also want to allay fears and insinuations of foul play that the suspects were shot, poisoned etc as the matter has been professionally handled by our officers, who investigated the murder in a logical sequence which enabled the arrest of suspects and have admirably and professionally handled the deaths of the suspects as noted above”, he said.

The police in Bukedea arrested seven suspects in relation to the Opolots’ death. The others are Justine Ekuma, James Olupot, Samuel Opolot, Peter Ekuma and Paul Angura.

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