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Security Personnel Accused of Harassing Health Workers During Curfew

Innocent Rubangakene, a Laboratory scientist at Kitgum General Hospital told members of Kitgum Covid-19 Task Force on Thursday that he has been a victim of harassment meted on him by security personnel during curfew hours.
Police officers patrol Lobalokodi village in Madiopei subcounty, lamwo District

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A section of health workers in Kitgum Municipality has accused security personnel of harassing them during curfew hours.

Last month, the government imposed a 42-day lockdown and restricted movements beyond 7 pm in response to curb down the second wave of covid-19 in the country. The movement restrictions however spared health workers who form part of the essential working force in the country.

However, in Kitgum Municipality, some of the health workers say they have been roughed up by security personnel at night while reporting or returning from duty.

Innocent Rubangakene, a Laboratory scientist at Kitgum General Hospital told members of Kitgum Covid-19 Task Force on Thursday that he has been a victim of harassment meted on him by security personnel during curfew hours. He says he was at one time arrested and briefly detained while from duty despite explaining and showing his particulars.

Rubangakene notes that arrest and harassment of medical personnel who play an important role in the fight against covid-19 are unfair.

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Bezy Omoya, the senior Administrator at Kitgum General Hospital acknowledges that some of their staff have been arrested by security personnel during curfew.

He however says they have since resolved to issue a clearance letter to all the health workers to ease their movements during curfew while reporting to work or returning to their homes.

Omoya says so far 80 of the staff that are regularly on night duties have been issued with the clearance letters obtained from the office of the Resident District Commissioner.

He however cautioned the health workers to carry the necessary documents that include that National Identity Cards and authorized clearances to avoid them falling into trouble with security personnel on night duties.

Paul Abok, the Deputy District Internal Security Officer says his office has taken up the matter and already conducting investigations to apprehend the culprits. 

According to Abok, one of the suspects is a Uganda People’s Defence Forces-UPDF soldier who is being followed closely within Pandwong Division where has occasionally harassed and extorted money from locals.

“Our forces are indeed messing up, I raised that concern and I have more than once now been following the culprit implicated in Pandwong. This should stop,” Abok told members of the Kitgum Covid-19 task force on Thursday. 

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