A 37-year-old man has died after he was allegedly beaten up by his clan members in Apac District in northern Uganda.
Jasper Odic, a resident of Ayegero Village, Atana Parish in Apac Sub-county died after he was arrested by members of his Adok-Oyengo Owoo clan for battering his wife.
Odic was first detained for one day at the home of their clan chief of Apac Sub-county, Mr Cosantino Alea.
At exactly 3pm on Monday, Odic was then paraded before dozens of clan members and allegedly beaten to death.
Odic was accused by his wife of engaging in excessive consumption of alcohol and violent conduct against her and their children.
Eyewitnesses said Odic sustained severe injuries on the head, buttocks and the chest which they suspect could have caused his death.
Mr Calvin Otim, an eyewitness said those who were hearing the case fled the scene upon his death.
Odic’s body reportedly spent a night in the cold since police had not yet arrived at the scene.
Mr Andrew Okae, the LC1 chairman of Ayegero Village said Odic was not complaining of any sickness before his arrest.
“He was picked late in the evening on Sunday and detained overnight. I was later called that he is dead. I rushed to the scene only to find his body lying under the tree but nobody was around,” he said.
Mr Bonny Olwe, the Apac Sub-county vice chairman, condemned the act saying clans should use a holistic approach while settling domestic violence.
“Violence is not the solution to problems. Clan leaders should change their ways of disciplining their subjects,” he said.
Mr Jurubabel Opio Okori, the head of Adok Oyengo Owoo clan, blamed the incident on the weakness of his ministers.
“I am going to sack some of my ministers [because] they are not performing their duty that is why lower leaders are taking the law into their own hands,” he said.
Mr Opio Okori pledged to work with security to ensure the killers are arrested and prosecuted.
Apac District Police Commander, Mr Philip Mukasa, when contacted for a comment said police were already hunting for the perpetrators.
“We are aware of that incident and investigations are ongoing,” he said.
Domestic violence is a big challenge in the Lango sub-region. Data from police show that 139 cases of domestic violence were registered in the month of May 2020 alone.
Out of the nine districts that make up Lango sub-region, Lira was leading with 54 cases, followed by Amolatar with 26 cases. Apac, Otuke, Oyam, Kwania, Alebtong, Dokolo and Kole districts had less than 20 cases each, the North Kyoga regional police spokesperson, Mr Michael Odongo, said.
Out of 139 cases, only 3 cases were taken to court, 32 under investigation while the rest were withdrawn.
However, police said women tend to rush and report cases that should have otherwise been reported by men against women.
The UN Population Fund (UNFPA) estimates that 15 million more cases of domestic abuse will occur in 2020 as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic—an increase of 20 per cent.
Dr Natalia Kanem, the fund’s executive director, called the findings “totally calamitous”.
Ms Ndaya Beltchika, gender and social inclusion specialist with International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), said the protection of vulnerable women should be considered a priority in the Covid-19 response.