One person knocked dead and several others have been injured in riots over swearing of Robert Okumu as the new LC 5 chairperson of Nebbi
More anti-riot police and the military are being ferried to Nebbi town to quell down a riot over the swearing-in of Robert Okumu as the new district chairman.
Riots started and spread through the town at about 11:00 am as soon as Okumu of the National Resistance Movement (NRM) was sworn-in after a controversial recount of the February 23rd votes.
The protesters, who support former LC5 chairman, Esrom William Alenyo, are angered that their man has been robbed of victory after the Nebbi chief magistrate's court ordered a recount that discounted Alenyo's win of 82 votes.
The recount showed that Okumu won the elections by 297 votes and court ordered that the Electoral Commission gazettes him and removes Alenyo from the Uganda Gazette.
Using teargas and live bullets, the police and the military have been battling the protesters for hours now. The protesters have cut off the roads leading to and out of the town using boulders and bonfires.
More anti-riot police are being ferried in from outposts in the district and neighbours like Zombo and Arua.
A child has reportedly been knocked dead by a boda boda cyclist whose visibility was clouded by plumes of teargas as he fled out of town. Several protesters are said to have sustained injuries in the skirmishes.
A resident, Andrew Ocama whose car windscreen was smashed in the riots, said the rioters stripped naked five NRM and Okumu's who had traveled from his home sub-county of Panyimur.
John Okaba, an eye witness, said the rioters have split in small groups in the town's outskirts in order to over stretch the police and the army who are contining to pursue them with teargas and live bullets fired in the air.
Unconfirmed reports suggest that a police officer could have been injured in the ruckus and rushed to Nebbi hospital.
Samuel Okot, the West Nile regional police commander who is commanding the anti-riot police, confirmed that 20 rioters have so far been arrested and detained.
Okot said the police swung in to action in order to protect the lives of people and business as they got information that the rioters wanted to go on a looting spree.
Jerry Kasamba, a resident, said the Arua-Nebbi-Pakwach road has been cut off with vehicles now using short-cuts to avoid the town centre.
Kasamba, who runs a community-based library in the town, said the rioters have literally blocked all major roads and streets in the town.
He said the situation seemed to be petering out as the police and the army have stepped up their operations against the rioters.
Several buses and trucks destined to towns like Arua, Koboko and Paidha, and neighbouring countries like Sudan and DR Congo have been forced to reroute through the town's outskirts.
Speaking earlier at the Arua High Court before news of Okumu's swearing-in came, Alenyo maintained that he was the rightful chairperson-elect for Nebbi.
He accused the NRM of trying to push him out and asserted that he was not going to give up in case his opponent was sworn-in.
Meanwhile Okumu's supporters have been celebrating his swearing-in at GAF Entertainment Centre as the police battled the rioters who have been edged out of the town centre.
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