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Lockdown: Security officers accused of causing deaths by delaying pregnant mothers

Security officers patrolling streets of Arua during the ongoing lockdown. Courtesy photo

Arua, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Security officials in greater Arua have come under the spot light for delaying transportation of pregnant mothers thus denying them timely access to Arua hospital especially during curfew hours.

According to a weekly report from last week, some mothers lost their babies due to delays at security checkpoints, while others were abandoned by boda bodas who were stopped by security personnel for moving in curfew hours.

Dr. Filbert Nyeko, the Director Arua Regional Referral Hospital revealed that in addition to being delayed by security personnel, some mothers have out of fear of travelling at night been forced to delayed labour time until day break, leading to fatalities. Without revealing specific number of deaths and mothers suffering delayed labour, Dr. Nyeko said due to curfew, many mothers now fear to come to the hospital for labour.

However, Jackson Atima, the MP Arua Central division has tasked those transporting pregnant mothers to remain firm and in the event of being harassed by security personnel during curfew hours, report the matter immediately.

Atima also urges security officers to exercise maximum soberness and precaution while enforcing the directives on controlling the spread of Covid-19.

Martin Oroch, the Resident City Commissioner Arua has warned the security personnel against misinterpreting the President’s directive on controlling the spread of Covid-19, adding that any sick person should be allowed to travel at any time of the curfew.

In response to the allegations, Amon Kasereka, the UPDF Public Health Officer in the sub region said no security personnel is allowed to misuse any operation order to harass anyone seeking medical care but warns people who tend to undermine the security personnel deployed to man check points.

According to some boda boda operators in Arua city, they often face harassment by security officers once they see them with passengers and that some of them demand for money before allowing them to proceed with the patients to the health facilities.

This is not the first time the security personnel are accused of battering sick people during enforcement of curfew hours. Last week, seven women from Odramacu reported security officers to the Resident City Commissioner Arua for confiscating their 27 jerricans of honey and only returning 20 to them. The matter is still under investigation.

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