Business in Lira town was disrupted on Saturday afternoon as security agencies battled rowdy youth in the town.
Police and the military were engaged in running battles and forced to fire live bullets and tear gas as a group of youths attempted to invade Indian traders seeking vengeance for the death of an 11-year-old pupil of Alito Primary School named Dickens Okello, who was allegedly killed by two Asian nationals on November 9.
The tense situation left three people including Douglas Okello, 16, Jasper Ocen, 42, and Innocent Odongo seriously injured and admitted at Lira regional referral hospital.
It is alleged that the rowdy youth had started canvassing the streets of Lira in areas like Imat Miria Road and Ohuru Bar along Lira-Soroti Road armed with sticks and stones targeting Indian traders. They blocked roads and lit bon fires in the middle of streets.
The chaos started shortly after the burial of Okello Dickens at Dok-Gudu Cell which was equally characterized by a brawl between mourners and security operatives.
In Lira town, youths attempted to attack Family Supermarket, one of the outlets owned by Indian traders but were thwarted by the heavily armed security personnel.
Peter Ojok, a trader at Ohuru Bar said the youths numbering about 15 stormed the area and started breaking into Family Supermarket.
The situation forced many businesses to close down and people to desert the township leaving the streets to armed military and Police personnel.
“The situation in Lira is not ideal because rowdy youth and hooligans are moving all around the city. They wanted to break and loot the shops and houses of Indian and Pakistani nationals. Police are firing tear gas canisters and live bullets to disperse the rowdy crowd,” said Agha Aslam, the media coordinator for Pakistani Association Lira.
But the Lira District Police Commander (DPC) Joel Tubanone later told SoftPower News on phone that the chaos had been contained.
This is the second attempt by the youths to attack Asian traders operating various businesses in Lira town. Last Monday, Police thwarted attacks on Asian traders by the same group prompting them to close shops for two days.
In a related scenario, Unity FM based in Lira has been raided by security personnel and closed for allegedly inciting violence. The directive to close the radio was made by Milton Odongo, the Lira Resident District Commissioner (RDC).
The raid on the FM station resulted in the confiscation of several equipment including computers, phones and cameras.