The Minister of State for Internal Affairs, Hon. Mario Obiga Kania, has blamed Radio Unity FM in Lira for inciting violence in the region.
Obiga Kania said the radio station broadcasted what he called ‘irresponsible messages’ that were intended to incite the public against the Indian community and security forces.
The Minister made the remarks while responding to a matter of national importance, which was raised by Hon. Judith Alyek following the death of 11-year-old Dickens Okello who was allegedly killed by two people of Asian origin on 09 November 2018.
“These [radio messages] charged the community into violence against the Indian community and the incident left some police officers and civilians injured. They are currently receiving treatment from Lira Regional Referral Hospital while others were airlifted to Mulago National Referral Hospital,” he said.
The Minister also revealed that eight suspects from Radio Unity were arrested as investigations into the incidents continue.
Obiga Kania added that the suspects, Pranau Uyas and Madahav Daga, were charged before the Lira Chief Magistrate’s Court and remanded to prison.
Alyek however, was not satisfied with the Minister’s response. She said some of her queries like the assessment of the legal status of foreigners in Uganda were not responded to.
“Much as the culprits were arrested, the minister does not say anything about the assessment of stay of the foreigners, their scope of investment in this country and whether they have work permits,” she said.
However, Unity FM radio station manager Sam Atul find’s Internal Affairs minister Obiga’s accusation laughable and untrue. Atul charges that, “The Internal Affairs minister is a political leader but his statement contains a lot of falsehoods.”
Atul says Unity FM did not actually broadcast the shooting that occurred at the burial of the 11 year old boy though other radios did. He explains that the anger and demonstrations that erupted in Lira were triggered by the communal suspicion that Asians who commit crimes in the region are never punished by the police.
He cites the example of the police postmortem report that claimed that the child had died of a heart attack yet a second report disputed that. The doctor who allegedly conducted the report police initially released also disowned the report police released to the public.