Gulu Police pinned over extortion of money, Protection of criminals

The police in Gulu district  are on the spot for extortion and protecting criminals.  

The allegations were on Wednesday raised by aggrieved residents and local leaders of Gulu district during a community policing meeting held in Patiko Sub County. 

Patrick Komakech, the Patiko Sub County LCIII Chairperson accused police officers at Patiko Outpost of aiding the escape of two defilement suspects from custody last month, demanding money from complainants, conniving with criminals, drunkenness, and unprofessionalism.

According to Komakech, the officers demand between  Sh 30,000 and  Sh100,000  from complainants to register and investigate cases, carry out arrests, transport officers, and also feed them. 

Veronica Laywelo, says that the police officers at Patiko Police Post last month demanded Sh50,000  from her to arrest a suspect who assaulted and injured her son.   

Laywelo says that to her dismay, the suspect was never arrested and none of the officers visited the crime scene much as she heeded their demand and paid money.

Margaret Apiyo also says last month she paid over Sh 200,000 to police officers at Patiko Outpost who demanded money for feeding and transportation to carry out the arrest of a suspect who raped her mentally impaired 14-year-old daughter but to date, the suspect has not been arrested. 

Isaac Ocan, a rights activist in the area disclosed that investigations into three defilement and rape cases last year flopped after the complainants lost interest due to the demand for money by the police officers to carry out arrests and visit the scenes of crimes.

Ocan explains that the majority of people in the area have lost trust in the police and are now opting for mob justice. 

Victor Lukwiya, a retired army officer in Ajulu accuses the police of using the already disbanded crime preventers to carry out arrests or disguise as police officers to extort money from complainants.

Swaibe Taban, the Gulu District Police Commander acknowledged receiving the complaints noting that two officers from Patiko Police Post Alfred Ojok Okot and George Odong were last week recalled to the main station and are being investigated for allegations of abuse of office. 

He notes that the officers will either be suspended, fined, or dismissed from the force once found guilty.

Taban added that there has been a reshuffle of police officers in Gulu district recently following numerous complaints of gross abuse of office.

Responding to the suspects` escape from detention, Taban said that the matter is being investigated but also blamed it on poor structures being used as detention cells.

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