Family Dispute Postmortem Report On Death Of Amuru Veterinary Officer

Family members of the late Dr. Samuel Ochola, former acting Amuru District Veterinary Officer, have contested the postmortem report on their son’s cause of death.

Dr. Ochola, an animal production specialist, died last Friday after reportedly being accidentally shot in the abdomen by a bullet discharged from a Uganda People’s Defence Forces (UPDF) soldier’s gun.

The incident occurred around 2 a.m. in Akee Village, Kololo Parish, Lakang Sub-County in Amuru District, while Dr. Ochola was allegedly enforcing a presidential order to evict Balaalo herdsmen. He was reportedly accompanied by the District Police Commander, Deputy Resident District Internal Security Officer, and nine armed UPDF soldiers.

The postmortem report, shared with the family over the weekend and obtained by URN, stated that Dr. Ochola died from hemorrhagic shock due to excessive internal bleeding caused by a gunshot wound to the left back. The wound was located 10 cm below the scapula and 4 cm from the midline.

However, the report did not recover a bullet, and the pathologist suggested that the projectile may have exited through the same entry point.

Geoffrey Okello, the head of the family, disagreed with the report, arguing that a bullet would not typically penetrate body tissue and exit through the entry point without being found. Okello observed that the wound seemed to have been caused by a knife or sharp object, making the bullet explanation questionable.

He also questioned the circumstances of Dr. Ochola’s clothing, noting that his clothes were dirty and appeared to have been dragged. Moreover, Ochola was wearing open shoes, which Okello found unusual for an operation in the bush.

Okello further questioned the conflicting incident reports from various security authorities regarding the time of Dr. Ochola’s shooting. Some reports indicated he was shot at 10 p.m. on Thursday, while others stated 2 a.m. on Friday.

Godwin Okello, Prime Minister of Puranga Chiefdom, where Dr. Ochola was a subject, called for the arrest of all implicated security personnel to allow for an independent investigation.

Okello also urged the Chief Administrative Officer of Amuru District to clarify why Dr. Ochola was assigned to work at night, contrary to public standing orders.

UPDF Deputy Spokesperson Col. Deo Akiiki released a statement over the weekend, confirming the arrest of Lance Corporal Francis Ekiu from the 65th Battalion in connection with Dr. Ochola’s shooting. Ekiu reportedly discharged a bullet that first struck his own leg, then penetrated a vehicle cabin, and ultimately hit the back of Dr. Ochola.

The suspect was one of nine security guards sitting behind a double-cabin vehicle belonging to the Amuru District Internal Security Officer, accompanying Dr. Ochola on the supposed Balaalo eviction mission.

The incident has drawn the attention of Deputy Inspector General of Police Maj. General Katsigazi Tumusiime, who arrived in the region on Wednesday and held a private meeting with top security officials at the Fourth Infantry Division barracks in Gulu City.

Dr. Ochola is set to be buried on Saturday at Kirombe Cell in Bardege-Layibi Division in Gulu City.

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