Soldier shoots, kills footballer in Agago 

A UPDF soldier takes his position before aiming at a target. Police and military authorities are investigating the Wednesday afternoon killing of a footballer by a soldier in Paimol Sub-county of Acholi Sub-region’s Agago District. PHOTO/ FILE

What you need to know:

  • It is alleged the soldier forced himself into a football pitch to play, but he was denied. He later returned with a gun and opened fire.

 Police and military authorities are investigating the Wednesday afternoon killing of a footballer by a soldier in Paimol Sub-county of Acholi Sub-region’s Agago District.

Twenty-five-year-old Justine Omol became the latest casualty of spiraling gun violence at the hands of soldiers, policemen, and private security guards.  

At least 11 shooting incidents have been reported across Uganda since early May, 10 of them fatal. They include the May 2 murder of the State minister for Labour, Col (Rtd) Charles Okello Engola Macodwogo, who was shot dead at his Kyanja, Kampala, by a military bodyguard, Pte Wilson Sabiiti.

According to police, Omol was targeted and shot by Army Pte Michael Mukanza attached to Kokil Detachment, Labwordwong Brigade in Paimol. 
Pte Mukanza was reportedly still under military custody by press time yesterday.

A case of suspected murder by shooting has been filed at Kalongo Police Station. 
It is alleged that on Wednesday, May 31, Pte Mukanza arrived at the sub-county playground at about 6 pm demanding to be allowed to join other football players on the pitch. 
When his demands were ignored, the soldier allegedly forced himself onto the pitch. Confusion briefly ensued before he was physically ejected. 

Return mission
The soldier then rushed to his unit and returned with a rifle before opening fire on the footballers, causing people watching the match to flee for dear life. 

Pte Mukanza reportedly deliberately aimed at and shot Omol twice in the left thigh before disappearing from the scene. 
Ms Christine Ayaa, a businesswoman at Paimol Trading Centre, says the suspect arrived at a nearby local bar at about 2 pm, but later headed to the football pitch at 6pm
“He heard noise from fans spectating the game and excused himself to go and play. He was weak and left without paying his Shs3,500 bar bill,” Ms Ayaa said. 

The Aswa Region police spokesperson, Mr David Ongom Mudong, yesterday said the gunshot victim was rushed to Kalongo Hospital, but died later in the night. 
“The deceased was rushed to Kalongo Hospital where he was pronounced dead hours later. Police detectives and scene-of-crime officers visited the scene, documented it, and also recovered spent cartridges,” Mr Ongom said. 

Mr Mudong confirmed that the army at Paimol eventually apprehended the suspect who has now been moved to UPDF 5th Division headquarters at Acol Pii in the neighbouring Pader District.
“The suspect was arrested with the killer rifle. The body of the deceased is at Kalongo Hospital pending a postmortem,” he said. 

Mr Mudong said it was very unfortunate that a soldier who should have ensured the security and safety of locals ended up victimising them. 
“We condemn the acts of turning a gun on innocent and unarmed civilians over personal emotions,” he said.

This year’s shootings
1. May 30: Ronnie Mukisa shot dead by unknown gunmen in Wakiso District.
2. May 24: Police Constable Alex Kitiyo committed suicide after attempting to murder his Officer-in-Charge John Kakooza at Makokoto Police Post in Kassanda District
3. May 20: Natasha Nagayi was shot by ASP Dismus Tebangole in Mukono District.

4. May 19: Constable Police Charles Opio attached to the Field Force Unit, Mbarara, reportedly shot and killed CPL Yeremiah Paper, a UPDF soldier attached to Ruhengyere Engineering Brigade.
5. May 19: Rogers Atuhaire committed suicide in Kampala City.
6. May 18: David Ogole, a security guard attached to Pyramid Security Group, turned his gun on himself in Lira City.
7. May 17: Joy Chebet, a teacher, was shot dead by suspected rioter in Moroto District.

8. May 14: Ben Amaku, a security guard of Security Group Africa Company Ltd, was shot dead by unknown person in Arua City.
9. May 13: John Mujumbi shot dead in Kampala City. Suspect is Peter Ochoroi.

10. May 12: Uttam Bhandari shot dead by Police Constable Ivan Wabwire in Kampala City.
11. May 6: Ibrahim Tusuubira alias Isma Olaxes shot dead in Kampala City. Suspect unknown.
12. May 6: Rebecca Masika shot dead by a UPDF soldier.
13. May 1: Col (Rtd) Charles Okello Engola shot dead in Kampala City. Suspect Wilson Sabiiti.