Gunfire in Lira as Municipality Evicts Vendors

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In short
The riot was sparked off by an operation to evict vendors from the market which the municipality leadership says is illegal. The market is situated about 50 meters from Lira main market.

Police has fired live bullets and tear gas to disperse rioting Market vendors from Juba Market in Lira Municipality.

The riot was sparked off by an operation to evict vendors from the market which the municipality leadership says is illegal. The market is situated about 50 meters from Lira main market.

Enraged vendors pelted stones and metallic objects at law enforcement officers and Field Force Police personnel who were clearing the market stalls. Over 300 vendors mainly restaurant operators, dealers in fruits and raw food items were stranded after their structures were demolished by the municipal law enforcement.

Ketty Adul, one of the affected vendor's says the municipality should provide alternative trading locations before evicting them.

Bosco Okullu a restaurant operator at the market claimed they were neither informed in advance nor given ultimatum to relocate from the place.

Our Reporter in Lira says gunshots and teargas covered the municipality as vendors resisted the eviction and engaging police in running battles.

Two people were injured in the ensuing exchange.

North Kyoga Regional Police Commander John Peter Ematu identified the victims as Moses Ewal, a resident of Amuca village in Lira Sub County and Scovia Adero, a resident of Lumumba village.

Ewal was shot and injured with a live bullet while Adero was hit with a stone and injured from the fore head. Earlier reports indicated that Ewal had died but Police says he is admitted for treatment.

RPC Ematu also ordered the arrest of a one police officer identified as Okello Okwang who commanded the operation accusing him of illegal deployment of personnel without the authorization. Okello is held at Lira Central Police Station.

Lira Municipality Mayor Michael Ogwang Olwa says the vendors have been adamant to relocate to gazetted markets in Central, Adyel and Ojwina Divisions. He says the previous s council had already approved their relocation to new markets.

This is the second time Lira municipality is demolition illegal structures established at non-gazetted markets. In June, over 100 vendors operating at the Coronation Park along Obote Avenue were removed forcefully on the orders of Lira municipality council.