Serere: Toddler, 14 others injured as MP Okupa’s mercury extraction condemned
Last Updated on: 17th October 2022, 08:20 pm
Serere leaders have condemned MP Okupa’s activities in the district.
By Robert Edwomu
Serere – October 17, 2022: A total of 14 people in Kyere town council in Serere district are nursing injuries from gunshots and other objects following a scuffle between the communities and the Police.
The scuffle arose after the Kasilo County MP, Elijah Okupa together with a team of minerals experts attempted to forcefully extract mercury within Kyere Ginnery Cooperative Society building.
On Saturday 15, October 2022, Okupa is said to have gone to Kyere Ginnery in Kyere town council for a sensitization meeting. The meeting would later discuss renovating the ginnery. It was an unsuccessful meeting.
The assembly turned violent after community members roaming in the trading centre saw experts breaking the wall and cutting the iron sheet to penetrate the mercury room, causing a reaction from the public leading to gunshots.
The incident left 14 people, according to the local registry injured. A primary seven pupil aged 15 got a fractured leg.
The minor was taken to Kumi Orthopedic Centre as others were getting treatment from Serere health centre IV and nearby clinics.
The sufferers of the chaos include Robert Ogel, John Aisu, John Eriau; Ben Ameri, Lonres Edepu, Charles Okiria and Robert Okurut. Others are Francis Oluka and Domence Okuraja.
Some of the affected [injured people] narrated their ordeals, saying some of them got injured and bruised in an attempt to protect their merchandise and shops.
Others tried to rescue their colleagues as Police kept battering them.
A section of witnesses and locals have condemned that act and blamed the MP for invading another Constituency without notice of other leaders.
They say other valuable things like refrigerators and generators have been taken from the Ginnery by a team of people who came via the district leadership.
MP Okupa is also the Chairperson Teso Cooperative Union spearheading all the cooperative societies in the Teso sub-region.
John Esadu, the LC3 chairperson of Kyere sub-county in Serere condemned the act but revealed that MP Okupa in the evening pulled shs300, 000 for treating people with injuries.
Esadu also told TND News that this is the 5th attempt people have tried to steal the mercury, revealing the locals have resisted.
He also noted that several shops were robbed in the process of the scuffle as women vending tomatoes and fish are counted millions in losses.
Geoffrey Echemu, a councillor for Kyere town council condemned the chaos, noting that none of them [the area leaders] were notified of the meeting until the scuffle ensued.
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Harriet Nakamiya, the Resident District Commissioner of Serere said she received a letter talking about renovating the facility but she didn’t know when it was going to take place.
Nakamiya told this publication that on a fateful day she received a call from one of the area councillors asking for her intervention in the matter.
She was also told that people had gotten rowdy. After the RDC reached the venue [scene], she found MP Okupa and his team surrounded by the people.
After assessing the security situation, the RDC held Okupa by his coat and dragged him away. She consistently asked him to leave the place amidst the crowd’s resistance that had started throwing stones at them.
The RDC blamed the MP for conducting such a sensitive activity over the weekend without prior sensitization and involvement of the local leadership.
She confirmed the shooting of a minor and added other people are nursing injuries at various health units.
Attempts to get a comment from the accused MP, Okupa were futile as his telephone numbers were unavailable.
Several victims on Sunday recorded statements at Kyere Police station.
SP Oscar Greg Ageca, the Police Spokesperson of East Kyoga confirmed the incident and has pledged to compile a comprehensive report to that effect.