RAMPAGE: Revenue Collecting Body On Spot Over Smuggler Deaths In West Nile

URA on spot

CENTER- Brian Mike (right), who was shot during the riot in Koboko Town last month, and other residents attend the meeting on Monday. MONITOR PHOTO

By Our Correspondent

KOBOKO, Uganda [SHIFTEMEIDA NEWS]  The Uganda Revenue Authority (URA)  has come under criticism over high-handedness of its enforcement officers while dealing with suspected smugglers in West Nile region.

On several occasions URA enforcement officers have injured suspected smugglers and  bystanders during the course of their duties.

The latest incident that occurred on February 23 in Koboko District, sparked a riot, leading to the death of Badru Ajiga, 27, a passerby, and the torching of URA office in Koboko Town.

Eight people were injured as police officers and soldiers attempted to quell the riot. The riot occurred after a suspected smuggler sustained serious injuries after the motorcycle he was travelling on was reportedly knocked by URA law enforcement officers attempting to arrest him.

On Monday, Koboko residents meet URA officials led by URA Commissioner General John Musinguzi to discuss their grievances.

Some of those injured during the riot hobbled into the meeting room on crutches, while others showed up with bandages on their legs, arms and ribs.

Ronald Baiga, a resident, accused URA enforcement officers of harassing residents and treating them inhumanly. “We want justice to prevail and have those who shoot at people punished. They should be held individually because in future, they may continue killing people the same way,” he said.

Ashraf Adam, the brother of the deceased, asked police to expedite investigations into the killing.

“We are sad that to date, police still say investigations are ongoing yet the URA management  knows who was deployed on that day. We are traumatised as a family because he was innocent and did not participate in the riot yet he was killed.”

URA and police  insist that no  suspected smuggler was knocked or hit by a car door.  However,  Mr Siraj Batali, a complainant, insists that URA enforcement officers hit him with a car door and he fell in to a trench.

Preliminary police investigations indicate that the chaotic scenes were sparked off by misinformation that URA enforcers had killed three people.

The injured

During the riot, Mike Brian, 15, a Primary Six pupil was shot in his left leg.

He said: “I am in great pain and I cannot walk without support of crutches. I cannot get back to school and study because some of the bones cracked and the pain is too much.”

Another residents, Mr Gift Hassan, a driver, told Daily Monitor that he was shot in the left thigh as he returned from buying jack fruit near Centenary Bank. “I saw two soldiers on a pick-up truck of URA and they are the ones who shot me,” he said. However, Daily Monitor could not independently verify this.

Also a teacher of Mondru Goro Primary school, Cassian Ocima, was shot in his  left hand.

Others injured are Ivan Aninga, who was shot in the arm twice; Ms Elizabeth Akujo, who was shot on the left leg;  Ayub Abdulrahuman, journalist with Vision Group, was beaten and injured and Richard Moro, who was shot in the ribs and his spleen and liver damaged.

URA Speaks out

Musinguzi said: “We cannot allow smuggling but there is no life that equals to revenue. We regret this incident. No life should be lost when collecting tax and nobody should manhandle or shoot at a tax payer. If the person insists on riding away, you (enforcers) should rather leave the person to go and just note his identity.”


In September 2009, three people were shot dead by URA enforcement officers in Koboko.

On April 29, 2010, URA enforcers also shot dead suspected smugglers Siraje Adiga while Bosco Anderia and  James Inziku, sustained injures at Nyadri Trading Centre in Maracha.

In March 2018, two people were injured by the URA enforcement officers in Yumbe District in an attempt to impound a numberless motorcycle.

On September 20 last year, URA enforcers shot dead Bosco Jurua.


Shift Media News

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