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WE ARE VERY SORRY: URA engages West Nile After Fatal Shootings Last Week

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The Uganda Revenue Authority URA has dispatched teams of its officials to the West Nile region following the shooting dead one and critically injuring two others by revenue enforcement officers in Madi-Okollo district.

The team are talking to the people of West Nile and Acholi sub-region, in what the officials who were on Thursday in Zombo district says it’s an engagement and sensitizing the population on tax payment/revenue collection.

The engagement has so far been held in the district Madi Okollo, Arua, Zombo, Pakwach Arua city and others. The Manager Security URA Col. Gideon Kattinda who represented the Commissioner General URA regretted and condemned the unfortunate incident at Madi-Okollo district.

Col. Kattida condoled with the bereaved family adding that URA has met burial expenses of Shs10million and that there will be arrangement to compensate deceased family while URA will pay for the medical bills of the two injured.

He says the community turned rowdy on 3rd January 2024 throwing stones at the enforcement team in Okollo town council forcing the officers to discharge bullets.  Moses Achidri succumbed from the bullet wounds after he was rushed to Nebbi general Hospital.

“The enforcement team at Madi Okollo wanted to impound a numberless motorcycle and the community resisted and started throwing stones at them forcing them to discharge bullets and unfortunately three people were injured and one later died.” Col. Kattida explained

This was uncalled for and it was avoidable, we believe there was reckless conduct and some uncalled for shooting, some operational mistake which was made, we believed it was unfortunate, and on behalf of URA the commissioner general sent us to come and engage with the bereaved family and community.

Extend our apology and we started the sensitization tour to engage the members of the community and pledge our commitment to prohibit and say never again such conduct that leads to death. Col. Kattida explained to journalists in Zombo district

Zombo district stakeholders including LC V Chairman, James Uyullu Uruna, Deputy CAO, Edward Eco, councilors, Business community Chairperson, Bodaboda riders and Media attended the engagement at Paidha cultural Centre.

Last year at least two separate cases of confrontation prompting shooting building roof and shooting in air by URA team were registered in Corner Agwen trading Center Athuma Sub-county and Zombo town council, Zombo district

During the meeting a number of locals pointed out some of the shooting by the URA enforcement team within Greater Nebbi and West Nile urged the government to ensure a friendly environment when collecting lawful revenue from the citizens.

Benard Olar, the lawyer for Zombo Bodaboda riders Association, confirmed that he witnessed acassions of the brutality and inhuman degradation by the enforcement officers in Paidha town council in 2015 and 2017 were by a child suffered the consequence when chaos erupted in Paidha market when URA was carry operation.

Olar hailed the URA, saying they will refrain from using guns and bullets on the citizens while carrying out enforcement to impound numberless motorcycles and other products.

“It’s very good, I am very happy if you have refrained from shooting at the citizens because it’s inhuman degradation then there will be no course of Bodaboda or community to stone at you. Olar observed.

Valentine Owille, told URA to be professional enough when collecting revenue to avoid shooting and killing innocent citizens. He added that people end up losing their properties as a result of rudimentary tax collection.

The Ministry’s decision to utilize the Uganda Law Reform Commission to gather proposals raises questions about the effectiveness of this approach and whether it can truly replace a dedicated constitutional review commission.

Meanwhile, concerns were raised about the repercussions of delaying the constitutional review, with critics questioning the impact on governance and citizen rights.

The move has sparked a debate within Parliament about the government’s commitment to constitutional reforms and its prioritization of financial allocations.

He recounted an incident whereby, he says he witnessed an enforcement team fired bullets in air in one of the markets in Nebbi district and women suffocated in stampede and their palm oil were powered on ground.

The Zombo district Speaker Hassan Ringtho acknowledged that although tax collection is hectic still URA should do it in a peaceful manner. Hassan Ringtho told the meeting that he witnesses one moment when a URA official stormed a burial place in Paidha sub-county to impound the numberless motorcycle sparking tension with the mourners

“I begged the URA official and kneeling down on my knees not to carry enforcement of the numberless motorcycle at the burial place that day.” Ringtho observed

Bolingo Francis the councilor district Athuma Sub-county has, advised the URA to involve the district for harmony prevail in collecting revenue.

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