Amuru Shooting Victims Amputated Top story

2786 Views Amuru, Ethiopia

In short
Some of the victims of Monday shootings of unarmed civilians by the police and army in Apaa, Amuru district have had their limbs amputated following severe bullet injuries.

Some of the victims of Monday shooting of unarmed civilians by the police and the army in Apaa, Amuru district have had their limbs amputated following severe bullet injuries.

Five victims who were shot from Apaa village in Amuru sub county, in Amuru district where rushed to St Mary's hospital Lacor on Monday at midnight by concerned residents.

26 year old Felix Opiyo, speaking to URN from his hospital bed in Lacor Hospital says he was protesting as a way to protect their family land. The family uses the land to farm. 

He says he was shot in the right arm at about 2pm by a group of army and police officers as he raised a branch he was carrying together with other protesters as a sign of peace.

"We did not expect the UPDF or police to fire live bullets but now, I have ended up loosing my right hand," he says as he sobs.

Opiyo appealed to the government to respect the lives of citizens.He now says government should compensate them since he did not do anything wrong to get shot in the arm.

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Residents of Apaa told URN that they own the land. They claim that the boundary of Adjumani district is being extended from Zoka River to Omer which, is already in Amuru district. They say some of them know the boundaries since they have lived on the land since birth. They blame government for initiating division among the two districts.

Opiyo blames Second Deputy Prime Minister General Moses Ali and army intelligence boss Julius Oketta, for the mayhem.

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Jacob Okumu, a victim who was shot in the left arm and has been amputated, told URN that he did not participate in the protest but police and army were shooting indiscriminately and the bullets shuttered his limbs.

He says he thought the UPDF and police had come to talk to the people since the residents were gathered in Apar trading center, but they ended up opening fire at the people and tear gassing them.

A good Samaritan, using a motorbike carried Okumu and drop him at Lacor trading centre, where he crawl to the road side and called for help. He narrates that a driver of a vehicle driving by, heard him and stopped. "He took me to Lacor hospital."

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Okumu, a father of two children and one wife, says he is the sole bread winner and now wonders how he will farm the land to feed his family.

Another victim, a female and yet to be identified lies unconscious at Gulu Regional Referral hospital.

Two other victims, who were also admitted at Lacor Hospital on Monday midnight, have been discharged. Grace Aciro and Komakech Gabriel had bullets grazed their head and stomach respectively.

Dr Cyprian Opira, the executive director of Lacor Hospital told URN that the victims were brought in by unidentified persons on Monday night. He says the hospital treated and discharged two people whose condition were not worrying and then amputated two, who had their hands shuttered by the bullets. 

Although, those whose hands have been amputated are recovering well,  Opira says the state of the patient in the intensive care unit is unstable.
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Francis Odongyoo, the executive director Human rights focus in Gulu says they "have noted with concern the mistreatment of the residents" in Apaa and will take legal action against the government on their behalf.

On Monday, police and army were heavily deployed in Apaa and Pabbo to enable the demarcation of a contested 41 square miles of land take palce. Both Adjumani and Amuru claim the land is in their territory.

The number of people injured according to eye witnesses is over 21. Residents claim three people have been killed and their bodies taken to Adjumani district.

About 21 people are being held by police over the protest.

Aswa regional police spokesperson Patrick Jimmy Okema on Monday told URN that police had used reasonable force to disperse the protesters.

He says the protesters were warned through firing of rubber bullets and tear-gas. He could not comment on the use of live ammunition and the injured residents.