What you need to know:
- Police attribute the cases to ignorance of the law, poor community policing approach, lack of trust in the judicial system, poverty and bad cultural norms.
Police in Lango have registered rampant cases of mob action in the sub-region with 16 people being killed in the last four months.
Police attribute the cases to ignorance of the law, poor community policing approach, lack of trust in the judicial system, poverty and bad cultural norms.
“We are finding difficulties in tracing the suspects whenever people commit crimes because police do not get support from local leaders,” the North Kyoga regional police spokesperson, Mr Jimmy Patrick Okema, told journalists in Lira City on Wednesday.
“There is a need for a continuous sensitisation of the community and involvement of all stakeholders such as religious and cultural leaders [in the fight against mob justice],” he added.
Mr Benson Dila, the Oyam District chairperson, blamed the killings on trauma caused by the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) attacks on civilian population in the region for 20 years.
“In Oyam, everybody was displaced by the LRA and as a result, a number of people are suffering psychological trauma,” Mr Dila said.
The LRA, whose leaders have been indicted by the International Criminal Court in The Hague, retreated to Central African Republic. Critics accuse police and local courts of releasing suspects before they have been prosecuted or been reformed.
Petty theft carries a penalty of two months in prison or community service.
Some of the reported cases
Among those lynched was George Etime, 45, a resident of Abar-ler Village, Atana Parish in Apac Sub-county for allegedly stealing his neighour’s radio receiver on Monday.
“Some people who were going to their garden found his body by the roadside and raised an alarm; I went to the scene and informed the police,” Mr Martin Omara, the village chairperson, said. The north Kyoga regional police spokesperson, Mr Jimmy Patrick Okema, said police from Apac Central Police Station have commenced investigations into the killing.
On March 15, 2021, two men accused of stealing a goat were reportedly lynched in Barr Sub-county in Lira District.Two weeks later, another suspected motorcycle thief was also murdered by angry residents and his body burnt to ashes with petrol at Abunga Village, also in Barr Sub-county.