KOBOKO. Police in Koboko on Wednesday got involved in running battles with the locals of Mudukudu cell, Apa ward in Koboko municipality after residents blocked the municipal authorities from trying to open an access road in the cell.

The violence that lasted for about 2-hours forced the police to fire live bullets and tear gas to disperse the rowdy residents, leaving two civilians and two police officers injured.

Those injured were identified as police constables Stephen Odama and Ssamula Joseph while the civilians are Ajonye Moseka and Swali Papa.

According to the district police commander, Mr. Hassim Kasinga, police intervened and fired bullets and tear gas after the locals became violent on seeing Koboko municipal authorities trying to open the road.

He said in the process of dispersing and calming the violence, one police officer was shot by an unidentified angry mob using bow and arrow in the hand while the other was hit by a stone.

Meanwhile, he said the two civilians were injured after tear gas canisters and a stray bullet hit them.

Locals watchLocals watch as the ambulance with the injured people arrives at the hospital. PHOTO BY ROBERT ELEMA.

“It’s unfortunate that in the process of calming the violence at the scene, three people got injured and they are currently getting medication at Koboko hospital but the woman (Ajonye Moseka)who was critically injured has been referred to Arua Regional referral hospital," the police commander said.

"The cause of this violence was because the two parties had a conflict of interest. Municipal officials were opening the road out of the interest of the communities, worst of it was the attempt to trespass peoples’ land and diversion of the road which is unlawful," Kasinga added.

He, however, attributed the violence and disorder by the locals to lack of transparency among the municipal leaders which he said will be followed up.

The DPC said the municipality has the right to develop the cells but they don’t have the right to criminally trespass on people’s land.

Kasinga also warned the locals against violence and public disorder.

The residents alleged that the opening of the 15-meter access road has been characterized by corruption and lack of transparency among the leaders.

Mr. Amuza Abuyi, a resident of the area said they want the road to be opened in its initial position.

According to him, the municipal authorities have decided to favour the affected plot (building) owned by one of the leaders in the municipality hence diverting the road to their plots.

He also accused the authorities of demolishing their building without consultation and sensitizing them.

Mr. Charles Data, the local LC1 chairman of the cell said the opening of the road started in 2017 but whenever the municipal officials come with their graders to open the road, a section of the locals resist.

"The program for opening the road started a long time ago and we even held meetings but I was surprised to see the residents resisting yet they were the ones who requested for the road," he said.

Mr. Stansalus Mangasa, the Koboko municipality town clerk said they gave the affected persons through which the road was to pass duration of two years to vacate the place but they refused.

He, however, denied the allegations that the road has been diverted from the originally planned position.