January 27, 2024
In a tragic incident during a crackdown against illegal Balaalo herdsmen, the District Veterinary Officer (DVO) of Amuru, Samuel Ocor, was shot and killed by a Uganda People’s Defence Forces (UPDF) soldier on Thursday night. The shooting occurred at around 8 pm near Lakang Trading Centre in Lakang Sub County, where the DVO was en route to one of the animal holding grounds in the area.
Eyewitnesses reported that the DVO was shot in the abdomen while traveling in a police pickup vehicle. Raymond Orach, a resident, described the suddenness of the incident, stating, “We suddenly heard the gunshot, the team was moving in a pickup vehicle belonging to the police, and we discovered that the DVO was shot dead.”
It was further revealed that there was no apparent scuffle in the vehicle, although the soldier who discharged the firearm was also injured. Numerous attempts to reach the UPDF 4th Division commander Brig Michael Kabango for comments on the incident were unsuccessful.
Amuru Resident District Commissioner (RDC) Stephen Odong Latek confirmed the shooting and attributed it to recklessness. Preliminary investigations indicated that a bullet was discharged from a gun in the vehicle, hitting the owner and ultimately the DVO. The injured soldier was swiftly taken to Amuru Health Centre IV for medical treatment.
According to RDC Odong, the DVO, accompanied by police and officers from the District Internal Security Officer’s (DISO) office, had gone to the Lakang army detachment to seek reinforcement for guarding the animal holding ground situated less than 7 km from the detachment. The influx of confiscated animals from the Balaalo herdsmen had prompted the request for additional security.
“We are yet to investigate what must have exactly caused the shooting, but the said soldier, we are told, had not locked his gun properly. He was also rushed to Amuru Health Centre IV, where he is receiving medical treatment,” Odong explained.
Emphasizing the ongoing investigation, Odong stated, “We cannot disclose the details of the soldier; we have all those details but for purposes of the investigations, we shall disclose it later.” The incident has raised concerns about the safety measures and procedures followed during security operations in the region.