A mother who lost her son in the enforcement of Covid-19 curfew restrictions a year ago, is still seeking justice and pleading with authorities to apprehend the security personnel who ended his son’s life.
Margret Nakyanzi says she is still waiting for a briefing on the progress of investigations about police officers and Local Defence Units- LDUs who allegedly killed her son, Robert Ssenyonga, in the guise of enforcing Covid-19 orders a year ago.
Ssenyonga, 18, was allegedly hit on the head with gun butts by two police officers and three Local Defence Unit personnel, moments after he was allegedly stopped at a roadblock mounted outside Njeru stock farm in Buikwe district. At the time, President Yoweri Museveni had declared a nighttime curfew from 7 pm as a measure to control the spread of Covid-19.
Ssenyonga allegedly landed off a motorcycle he was riding after being hit with gun butts and crashed his head on the tarmac. But even though the Criminal Investigations Directorate’s homicide team was tasked to investigate the matter and other related killings, Nakyanzi says she has never been briefed on whether her son’s killers were arrested or not.
“I have lost hope for justice for my son killed at a tender age. I was told investigations were being done but I have not been briefed. I don’t know whether the people who killed him were arrested or not,” Nakyanzi says, recalling the events of the day that shattered her hopes for a better future that the son was working to attain.
Earlier reports by police and Uganda People’s Defence Forces –UPDF First Division that superintends LDUs indicated that Ssenyonga had fallen off a motorcycle while trying to dodge a roadblock thus shuttering his head on the tarmac. But police later said the homicide team was investigating the incident.
Juliet Logose, the head of Uganda Human Rights Commission-UHRC central regional office, said investigations into Ssenyonga’s death were concluded and the case is before the legal officer. Logose said they were being hampered by the lack of a UHRC Chairperson since the demise of Med Kaggwa in 2019, but she is now optimistic that the matter will be dealt with since a new head has been appointed and approved by Parliament.
More than 10 people were killed in the first COVID-19 lockdown by security agencies enforcing curfew and other directives.