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Gun Fire Rocks Hoima Town as Security Forces Disperse Protesters

John Baptist Ssegira, a resident of Hoima town faults China Railway Number 5 Engineering construction company limited for not pouring water on the road under construction as earlier on agreed upon.
Rowdy Youths Protesting in the Middle of the Road.

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Gunfire rocked Hoima town this morning when police used live bullets and teargas to disperse residents protesting the dust caused by the ongoing construction of Hoima-Fort portal road.  

China Railway Number 5 Engineering Construction Company Limited is undertaking the road works.

Residents have repeatedly complained of the dust resulting from the road works in vain. This morning rowdy residents including taxi drivers, boda-boda riders and members of the business community took to the streets and blocked Hoima-Fort portal road using logs, boulders and old vehicle tyres.

Some of the residents set up fire in the middle of the road using old tyres paralyzing traffic for several hours. The protests forced shop keepers to close their business premises. Police swung into action and started firing live bullets and teargas to disperse the rowdy residents leading to running battles.

//Cue in: "Gun fire rocks…

Cue out:…residents shout at:"//.

John Baptist Ssegira, a resident of Hoima town faults China Railway Number 5 Engineering construction company limited for not pouring water on the road under construction as earlier on agreed upon.

//Cue Out:"Abantu ki bakozere…

Cue out…basense amaizi just.:"//.

 

Innocent Bagonza, a driver in Hoima town says the protest will not end unless the road construction company responds to their demands.

//Cue in:"Kintu tukozere habwa…

Cue out…Nakoraki n agenda.:"//.

Nicholas Kyomukama, a chapatti vendor in Hoima town says businesses are almost collapsing because of the heavy dust.

//cue in:"Nyowe ndi mutembeyi…

Cue out:… Munana saha Ikumi.:"//.

Julius Hakiza, the Albertine Region Police spokesperson told Uganda Radio Network that police was forced to fire live bullets and teargas to restore calm in the town. He says police will maintain its presence in the town center not until peace is restored.

By the time of filing this story, police was still involved in running battles with the rowdy residents who were pelting officers with stones. Hoima Municipal officials and the management of China Railway Number 5 Engineering Construction Company Limited haven't yet commented as they couldn't be reached by the time of filing this story.  

The road was still closed by the time of filing this story. This is not the first time Hoima Residents are blocking Hoima-Fort Portal road over dust resulting from the ongoing construction works. Last week, residents blocked the same road protesting the uncontrolled dust resulting from the road construction.

In October 2018, residents of Buswekere Trading center in Busiisi division blocked Hoima-Fort Portal road paralyzing business for several hours because of uncontrolled dust. They faulted China Railway Number 5 Construction Company Limited for not pouring water on the dusty road yet it is provided for in their contract. 

The company is expected to pour water in all trading centers along the road.  Construction of the 135 kilometer Kigumba-Kabwoya-Kyenjojo road started in September 2015.

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