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Police in Busia accused of torture, extortion

FILE PHOTO: Police patrol

Busia, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Residents of Masafu sub-county in Busia district have accused the police of using excessive force, being brutal and extorting money from suspects.

According to residents, some police officers attached to Masafu police station torture suspects, extort money from them and also steal their property.

Residents cited a Monday operation led by Mavin Okema, the Officer in Charge of Masafu police station where police officers stormed one of the bars in Mumutumba trading center in Bukalikha village, Masafu and used teargas to disperse clients who were drinking. The police arrested 6 people and allegedly put them on gun point before extorting Shs 300,000.

Residents raised their concerns in a meeting held at Mumutumba trading center to launch a sensitization program of residents to form SACCOs and get financial support through specialized enterprises.

Polly Makokha, a bar operator says that armed police officers who were in plain clothes stormed his business premise at midnight and ordered him to get out of the bar counter and went with shs 200,000.

He said police used teargas to chase people from the bar and tortured his clients for unknown reasons.

John Sande, another resident says that police officers in plain clothes connive with crime preventers to extort and brutalize them especially during night operations.

Ben Wabwire Wangisa, the chairman LC1 Bukalikha village says on Monday Police fired teargas in the trading center and when he wanted to find out what had happened some police officers threatened to shot at him which forced him to return back at his home.

He says they have tried to report to the office of District Police Commander, but there has been no positive intervention.

Capt. Cris Mike Okiria, the Busia Resident District Commissioner-RDC says that his office has received complaints from the locals over illegal police operations in the area and they are to take action against the accused police officers.

However, Eriya Elepot, the Busia district Police Commander- DPC accused local leaders in the area who are conniving with junior police officers to conduct illegal operations at night and extort money from community members.

Mavin Okema,  the O.C station Masafu police station in interview with our reporter denied the allegations that has never commanded the night operation in the area.

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