Maracha – At least six security personnel are nursing injuries, sustained during enforcement of COVID-19 prevention directives at night in Maracha district.
Police Commander, ASP Hassan Hirumbire laments to the District Taskforce members in a meeting that the community has tagged security forces as “Corona” and attack the patrol personnel with stones.
“People are seeing us security forces as inconveniencing them and they even call us Coronavirus. It has prompted them to stone security operatives on duty, on foot and motorised patrol. So many hooligans have stoned police officers but surprisingly, when men and women in uniform are stoned, people do not take it seriously. As of now, six officers have been seriously injured. Some were admitted to Maracha hospital while others treated at Maracha Health Centre IV. People only look at the other side and don’t consider the security personnel to be humans like them. We need to talk to the community because it’s now rampant” the DPC appeals.
He calls for intervention of the district leaders for community awareness to curb the rowdy approach towards security personnel.
According to the DPC, as security team, enforcement of COVID-19 directives still continue, though parts of the rules have been scrapped off, this makes the community more relaxed and defiant.
“There has been some ease on the directives, as you all know, they have lifted some directives and this has made the community relax, thinking everything has been eased. This has given us a bigger task to perform. We are almost beginning where we begun” ASP Hiwumbire states.
The district surveillance focal point person, Mr. Lemira Joseph regrets witnessing similar challenges of community defiance in upper Maracha.
Maracha District Health officer, Dr. Paul Onzubo observes that the zero COVID-19 case in the district is not by chance but through actions, including the security operations that needs to be apprehended.
“Let’s join hands and help handle the matter collectively unlike in other places that are in a mess. The district council has been complaining of evening markets spoiling school children. It would be worth appreciating that the curfew has reduced the tendencies of late coming home of the children,” Dr. Paul notes.
Though regretting the act of stoning security personnel and calling it unfortunate, the district vice district chairperson, Wilson Geriga notes that the community acts on comparison and feels much suppressed in relation to Arua and Koboko where business is as normal as if there is no COVID-19 pandemic.
However, he supports the need for further awareness and community policing to create cordial relations between forces and the community.
“The problem people have is comparison. In Arua and Koboko, people move free than in Maracha. In Koboko and Arua, when you by-pass security officers, they pretend as if they haven’t seen you but the dialogue is a more peaceful essence in solving this matter” the vice Chairperson observes.
Mr. Amis Ayoma, a district councilor representing persons with disability (PWDs), calls it as “very dangerous”, stoning an armed personnel.
“It’s very dangerous for a civilian to stone somebody armed with a gun. This must stop immediately. People are joking with guns, they are playing with hot fire” the PWD representative warns.