What you need to know:
- The officers fired to disperse the crowd but in the process a bullet hit one Sophie Akongo who died on the spot.
Police in Lira District in Northern Uganda said Tuesday that they are holding three of their officers after a 48-year-old woman was on Monday shot and killed during an operation to rescue a suspected thief from a mob that was about to lynch him.
The officers had rushed to the scene to rescue one James Ango, a resident of Atongo-Kongo village, Itek sub-county in Lira District who was being beaten for allegedly stealing Shs1.3 million from one of the residents.
Mr Martin Otiti Bua, the LCII councilor of Ajia parish, Itek Sub-county where the shooting happened said that after intervening to rescue the suspect, the mob turned against the officers and started pelting them with stones.
“After he (Ango) was arrested and plans were underway to evacuate him to the police station, a group of community members gathered. Their number swelled to uncontrollable level as they started pelting stones in attempt to grab the suspect from the officers," Mr Otiti said.
The officers fired to disperse the crowd but in the process a bullet hit one Sophie Akongo who died on the spot.
SP Jimmy Patrick Okema, the North Kyoga Regional police spokesperson said detectives are investigating to establish facts and ensure that justice is served.
According to him, the victim, who was not part of the mob was hit by a stray bullet.
"This is a very unfortunate incident and this matter will be subjected to thorough investigation to understand more about what transpired. However, preliminary findings indicate that as the officers tried to rescue the suspect, the mob turned violent and even burnt a motorcycle that two of the officers rode on to the scene,” Mr Okema said before cautioning members of the public to restrain from taking the law into their hands.
He said it was hours after the incident that local authorities stumbled on Akongo’s body and contacted the police.
The body was picked and taken to Lira Regional Referral Hospital mortuary for postmortem.
According to Okema, if the members of the public had apprehended the suspect and handed him over to the police then there wouldn’t have been a scuffle that regrettably resulted into Akong’s death.