East Kyoga regional police detectives are investigating fellow police officers at Bukedea Central Police Station over the death of two suspects in police custody.
The investigations follow a postmortem report from Mbale Regional Referral Hospital that indicated that Joseph Okwalinga alias Golola and Michael Ojakol, died due to injuries inflicted on them. The duo died in two separate incidents on January 1, 2022.
A police preliminary report had classified the death as suicide. According to a press release by the East Kyoga Regional Police spokesperson Oscar Gregory Ageca, Ojakol committed suicide in the police cells using his clothes while Okwalinga reportedly fainted during the search for exhibits and died on arrival to Mbale Regional Referral Hospital.
But the relatives of the deceased rejected the police preliminary report and started demanding for explanations. Their anger was intensified when photos of Ojakol’s alleged suicide act were leaked from the police cells. In the photo seen by URN, Ojakol’s body is seen standing behind the door inside the cell with a rope tied on his neck.
The angry relatives stormed Bukedea CPS demanding answers from the officers on Tuesday, putting business in Bukedea on a standstill. Although they were teargased, they never retreated until the police leadership gave an audience to selected delegates of the angry community.
Geoffrey Okiswa, the Bukedea Resident District Commissioner says that the postmortem report shows that the suspects were tortured and asked the security personnel to investigate the matter.
Although Ageca maintains that the police has not yet received the report to comment on the matter, the Regional Police Commander for East Kyoga, Rusoke Kituuma confirmed the commencement of investigations against the officers but declined to name any officers in the spotlight.
“We agreed to have a single communication line through our PRO but I can confirm that our regional detectives are on the ground to investigate the matter”, he said on phone.
Relatives of the deceased suspects want the police to compensate the families and also meet their burial expenses. They insist that the bodies can only be laid to rest after the fulfilment of their conditions.