Remijo

Slayed 3 years ago, ex-soldier Okello Remijo’s burial is underway in Iceme  

(Last Updated On: 2 April 2024)

Oyam | On June 4, 2021, Okello Remijo—the ex-soldier during late President Apollo Milton Obote’s government, was killed by “the state”. 

His killing raised questions with “contradicting answers” emerging at the time.

Okello, born in Iceme sub-county in Oyam North, Oyam district, was allegedly killed by some State security personnel manning Lango sub-region.

His killing was soon confirmed by the then State Minister for Defense and Veteran Affairs, Okello Engola Macodwogo. Now deceased, the Minister was also the Oyam North Member of Parliament.

Speaking to a radio [local] journalist based in Lira City after Remijo’s death, the late Minister said Remijo’s execution was in “self-defense”.

The late Minister claimed the deceased was armed and was in possession of an illegal gun and that on a fateful day, he threw a teargas canister to harm the security personnel sent to arrest him.

In the same interview, the former Oyam North MP said the deceased had “made life too hard for the people of Iceme” and that he (Remijo) “used his gun to terrorise the locals”.

After they shot him dead, “the deceased’s body was put in a Police pickup to Lira City.” They buried him at a cemetery along Lira-Kitgum road, tndNews understood in 2021.

Gillian Akullu – the then Oyam RDC, said the “Iceme wrangle never started yesterday or today”, stating that it started “long ago”.

“We arrested him and recovered a gun from him sometime back but he vehemently denied keeping another gun. If he had handed over all guns to us, he would not have been killed,” she added.

After he was buried, his relatives went to Court seeking his body retrieved and offered a decent burial back home. The body would later be “taken elsewhere”, according to a family member.

In the same month, his relatives appealed to the Deputy Inspector General of Police (DIGP).

Also read: Lt Gen Okiding leaves Mogadishu

A lead petitioner who requested not to be named for fears that he may also be killed, said on April 24, 2021, that soldiers from Lira Garrison under the command of Lt. Col. Ayebare Nelson and Police officers from Oyam Central Police Station (CPS) commanded by D/ASP Okoboi Amos, stormed the home of Okello Remijo at midnight and shot him in the morning hours around 6:00 am.

“He had overpowered the Police in Oyam and [we] needed soldiers from Lira who came…” late Macodwogo told a radio journalist at the time.

The petitioner also told the DIGP that D/ASP Okoboi Amos took away the body of the deceased immediately after killing him. They claimed that the whereabouts of his body was not known.

“After some hours of killing, the said Okoboi Amos, using a Police pickup with Police officers on board went to the home of the deceased where the relatives were mourning for the death, ordered them to lie down and put them at gunpoint and arrested them.”

The matter arose from a land conflict which had been between the late and the family of one Oruk Morrish. It was waiting for judgement by the Magistrate Grade One Court at Anyeke.

In 2016, the same family allegedly used Police officers from Oyam CPS to arrest the late Okello Remijo on allegations of illegal possession of firearms. He was charged and remanded. During the trial, it was found that the State did not have evidence to support the charges.

On 18, April 2016, the Magistrate Grade One at Anyeke dismissed the case for “want of prosecution”. Magistrate Oburu Morris Ezra presided over the case.

“They had to use the services of the soldiers and the police to kill him,” the lead petitioner’s letter to DIGP read.

According to the deceased relative, the said D/ASP, Regional CID was working “hand in hand” with the wrangling family to destroy the family of late Remijo “with all means to imprison them by levying charges of aggravated robbery”.

“Oruk Morrish and others who have been wrangling for the land with the deceased are one of the prosecution witnesses lined up which shows a conflict of interest of the D/ASP in the malicious charge and prosecution.”

The same Okoboi, according to the deceased’s relatives, had preferred to trump up charges against all the relatives of the deceased who are (27) in number including his son who was already working in Kampala and who was in Kampala during the killing and eventual arrest of the family members.

Remijo
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In his absence, according to a 2021 petition to the DIGP, the deceased’s son was charged with “aggravated robbery”.

The relatives of the slain ex-soldier asked the DIGP to:

1. Investigate the conduct of Okoboi Amos D/ASP, No. 64737 Tumusabe Francis, No.60765 Angwech Immaculate, ASP Musasizi Saul-OC Iceme Police Station, Sgt. Okello Moses, ASP Yiga Gonzaga-Regional CID individual roles in the murder, taking away the body of the deceased and refusal to return, arrest and charging of family members.

2. Save the image of the government/police before it is too late by relieving them of their duties to pave the way for investigations since they have continued to pursue the remaining relatives of the deceased.

Court decision

On 27, May 2021 in the Miscellaneous Cause No. 136 of 2021 in the High Court Holden at Kampala in which Apio Simple, Ongwec Jacinto, Ogwang Peter, Arach Joseph, Florence Akello, New Innocent, Lilly Apio, Silvia Oyuku and Ajok Day (Respondents) sued the Attorney General of Uganda, the Chief of Defense Forces (CDF) and the Inspector General of Police (IGP) in the Matter of Section 34 of the Adjudicator Act—CAP 13 (as amended) and in the Matter of an Application for Writ of Habeas Corpus Ad Subjection, Boniface Wamala (Judge)—in a “Release Order” decreed:

“This Matter coming this 27th day of May 2021 for final disposal before His Lordship Justice Boniface Wamala; in the presence of Mr Bafirawala Elisha Counsel for the Applicants and in the presence of Mr Mark Muwonge State Attorney for the Respondents it is hereby ordered that:

The Applicants be and are hereby released by the Respondents forthwith.

The body of Remijo Okello, who is alleged to have been killed, is released to his relatives for a decent burial. The costs of the application are awarded to the applicants.

Nothing was honoured”

Whereas the court ruled that the deceased body be handed over for a decent burial, the ruling was never honoured.

For years, the corpse of Remijo was being “kept in Kampala”, a source told tndNews recently.

On March 29, 2024, Remijo’s body was returned to his home in Wigweng ‘A’ village, Iceme for a decent burial. It was received by local leaders and relatives.

His corpse was returned at 5 pm by a Police vehicle No. UP 9662 in the company of Police officers from Kampala.

Wilson Anyima, a local leader in Iceme, was among those who received the corpse.

“The burial is today [April 2]” Anyima told tndNews on Tuesday.

Two attempts to Police spokesperson Fred Enanga, for comments, especially why the deceased body was kept for so long were futile. He could not respond to our phone calls on Tuesday.

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