Amuru vet officer killed in Balaalo crackdown

Amuru RDC Stephen Odong Latek at one of the cattle holding grounds in Lakang Sub-county recently. PHOTO /FILE

Summary:

  • A UPDF soldier shot the District Veterinary Officer in Amuru dead during a crackdown on illegal herdsmen. The incident occurred as the officer, accompanied by police, sought reinforcement from an army detachment. Investigations are ongoing, highlighting the importance of firearm safety during law enforcement operations.

Security officials in Amuru are currently investigating the circumstances surrounding the fatal shooting of the District Veterinary Officer (DVO), Samuel Ocor, by a Uganda People’s Defence Forces (UPDF) soldier during a crackdown on illegal Balaalo herdsmen on Thursday night.

The incident occurred around 8 pm near Lakang Trading Centre in Lakang Sub County. Ocor, who was en route to one of the animal holding grounds where livestock confiscated from Balaalo herdsmen are kept, was allegedly shot in the abdomen by the soldier.

Eyewitness Raymond Orach, a resident, described hearing a gunshot while the team was moving in a police pickup vehicle. They found the DVO dead at the scene. Despite reports of no altercation in the vehicle, the soldier who discharged the firearm was also injured.

Efforts to reach UPDF 4th Division commander Brig Michael Kabango for clarification on the shooting remained unanswered. However, Amuru RDC Stephen Odong Latek confirmed the incident, attributing it to recklessness.

According to Latek, preliminary findings suggest that a bullet discharged from a firearm in the vehicle inadvertently struck the DVO. The soldier, allegedly negligent in securing his weapon, sustained injuries as well and was taken to Amuru Health Centre IV for treatment.

Latek disclosed that the DVO, accompanied by police and officers from the DISO’s office, sought reinforcement from the Lakang army detachment to guard the holding ground, located less than 7km away. However, during the transportation of soldiers to the site, the shooting occurred.

Details regarding the identity of the soldier involved will be withheld pending further investigation, as emphasized by Latek.

The tragic incident underscores the need for heightened caution and proper firearm handling procedures during law enforcement operations.

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