Ugandan soldiers shoot learner while quelling riot

A 17-year old student, Gabriel Rwot Omiya, was killed in what appears to have been a shooting by allegedly drunk Ugandan soldiers at a school in Gulu. 

The soldiers, who were called to quell a riot, reportedly shot the boy out of the tree he had been hiding in to escape the chaos on the school grounds.

The trouble began when school authorities denied the learners permission to watch a football match between Manchester United and Manchester City.

“A few students started throwing stones on the roofs,” said Jimmy Owani, the private school’s head teacher. 

The windows of some school buildings were broken and some computer equipment was destroyed.

An unidentified person called for help. Witnesses said soldiers of the Uganda People’s Defence Forces appeared drunk.

The Gulu army commander, Bonny Bamwiseki, didn’t respond to questions about the sobriety of the soldiers and the regional police commander, Damalie Nachuha, neither confirmed nor denied it, saying, “drunkenness is determined by an expert”.

According to Gabriel’s aunt Caroline Alarokuma, Gabriel was in the dormitory when he heard the chaos, ran out and climbed the mango tree to hide. “The soldiers were pulling them out of the dormitories,” she said.

It’s unclear how the tragedy then unfolded but Gabriel’s family says the postmortem report says a bullet struck his back, went through his chest and throat and exited through the mouth.

A Uganda Police deputy spokesperson, Claire Nabakka, said they arrested two soldiers, “RO11337, Lt Oryema John Obit, RA194594 Private Denis Ochola, and the suspects have been charged with murder by shooting”.

“Five girls collapsed as a result of shock and three boys got cut with broken bottles,” Owani said. One teacher also had a head injury.  

This article first appeared in The Continent, the award-winning pan-African weekly newspaper designed to be read and shared on WhatsApp. Download your free copy here.

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The Continent
The Continent is a free weekly newspaper published by the Adamela Trust in partnership with the Mail & Guardian.

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