Normalcy Returns to Gulu Streets After A Chaotic Thursday Evening

2283 Views Gulu, Uganda

In short
Calm has returned to the streets of Gulu town following a chaotic Thursday evening.


Sounds of bullets, tear gas canisters, closed shops, hotels, bars and barricaded roads blocked with burning tryes and stones characterized the town yesterday as crowds of mainly youth engaged a combination of the police and the army in running battles.

The matter got worse when darkness set in following days of a blackout in the town.

The situation trapped most people in town for the entire night as none as allowed to leave or enter the town. Some school pupils spent the night at radio stations and schools within the town.

Michael Owot, a parent said he was beaten twice last night as he attempted to trace for his missing child who failed to return home after he was caught up by the situation.

So far, at least two people, one of the motorcycle boda boda operators have been confirmed dead and many others wounded during the incident. At Gulu Central Police Station a crown has turned up to claim for their relatives who were arrested during the scuffle yesterday.

Meanwhile, many people are claiming that they were beaten and robbed of their money by the army and police during the night. Jacinta Okello, a resident of Te Gwana parish said the soldiers stormed her home and dispersed a crowd of people who were gathered drinking malwa, a local brew. She said the soldiers also beat them and took away money from them.

Johnson Kilama, the police spokesperson said they were still evaluating the situation and would soon issue a public statement. He however asked for calm.

The chaos begun at around 3pm when Norbert Mao, the Gulu district LC5 chairperson attempted to launch the “walk to work” protest in Gulu town. His arrest by the police sparked wild reaction from the crowd that kept demanding for Mao’s release.

The Democratic Party president was whisked away by police who drove him up to his police where he was placed under house arrest.

The situation only begun to normalize by 11pm when Mao together with the police and army officers went on radio and practically walked through the streets asking the heavily deployed soldiers to cease beating up the civilians most of whom were attempting to return to their homes.

By 9am this morning, about five military armored personnel carriers popularly called Mambas remained stations at the police station and on the streets in the town s police cars continue patrolling the streets.

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