Two motor vehicles and a motorcycle were torched by an angry mob in Yumbe district on Wednesday during a violent riot staged by people believed to be boda boda cyclists.
The violence broke out in reaction to recent enforcement operations conducted by tax body, Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) in the West Nile region to crackdown on the non tax payers who smuggle rice and motorcycles from neighbouring countries.
Wednesday’s attack is said to have been a retaliation by some of the affected persons whose motorcycles had been confiscated during the operations.
The chaos began when a group of angry motor cyclists attacked URA lawyers who were attending a litigation at the Yumbe district court house.
According to a statement by URA which was released late on Wednesday, “an organized mob attacked the legal team, pelting stones as a show of resistance of enforcement teams’ operations in the area against smuggled rice and unregistered boda bodas”.
Gun shots were then fired by police officers escorting the URA lawyers, to disperse the mob from the court house where the lawyers had sought refuge.
However, the angry mob would later regroup, armed with arrows and stones, and smash the windscreen of a car belonging to URA.
The rioters then proceeded to the main town where they set ablaze two vehicles, a double cabin Reg No UBB 124 L and a Toyota Prado Reg No UAW 390Z, both belonging to Danish Church Aid, a non governmental organization operating in Yumbe.
Rioters also destroyed a motorcycle belonging to Yumbe district local government at Kululu sub county.
Although some reports had come out claiming that URA enforcement officers shot dead two people, the tax entity has refuted these reports saying nobody was killed during the violence.
However, URA condemned the acts of violence as well as the practice of tax evasion in the West Nile.
“We inform the public that the practice of smuggling motorcycles from neighbouring countries leads to revenue loss and affects the business of tax payers who legitimately pay the due taxes,” URA’s Assistant Commissioner for Public and Corporate Affairs, Vincent Seruma said in the statement.
However, in an account of yesterday’s events, Police say the the chaos was sparked off after the cyclists spotted a URA car similar to the one that had been used in the previous enforcement operation. This, according to Police is what prompted the attack.
Meanwhile, Police say that some people were arrested for their involvement in Wednesday’s fracas.
YUMBE: Angry Rioters Burn 2 Vehicles in Protest of URA Operations was first posted on March 29, 2018 at 10:25 am.
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