ARUA. The police of Arua on Thursday morning arrested five National Unity Platform (NUP) officials while addressing a press conference at their party office in Arua town.

The officials were whisked to Arua central police station where they were charged with an act which is likely to cause the spread of Covid-19.

They include; Hadad Salim, the NUP Parliamentary flag bearer for Arua Central Division, Victor Jadribo, the Terego East NUP flag bearer and Ali Salim Muhammad, the NUP Informal Sector Coordinator for West Nile region.

Others are Mr Abdul Rashid and Mr Bashir Ssekamate, all residents of Arua Central Division.

The suspects were later produced before Her Worship Susan Adong, the Arua Grade One Magistrate and pleaded not guilty to the charge.

All journalists were blocked from covering the court proceedings but insiders revealed to us that Adong granted Hadad court bail and decided to remand the other four suspects to Gbukutu government prison in Koboko for failing to adduce substantial sureties.

NUP O SusVictor Jadribo (L), Hadad Salim (3R) and their colleagues being marched by police to court hall. PHOTO BY JOSEPH ODAMA

By press time on Thursday evening, those denied court bail were still waiting in the court cells to be transported to Koboko.

"We came with all the necessary documents for the release of our brothers but the police officer at the court gate denied us entry on grounds that time is over yet our people were still in court," Mr Siraj Bakole, a relative to one of the suspects said.

"I'm not happy for what has happened today because we came fully with our introduction letters from LCs and photocopies of our national identity cards to secure bail for our brothers only to be blocked at the gate. This was just unfair for us!" Bakole added.

Upon his release, Hadad who is also a lawyer by profession said their arrest was merely a political persecution.

“A lot of concoction has been made by people who arrested us. We organized a press conference to tell the government that our President, Robert Kyagulanyi was arrested and he deserves to be released and that is why we are here in court. And now that the court said my colleagues do not have substantial sureties, as an advocate of the High Court, I feel it is now my challenge. The first thing is for me to work on their production warrant so that my colleagues are produced before court and if possible, we will get an advocate to represent them,” Mr Hadad said.

The matter has been fixed for hearing on December 17, 2020.