• KiAfriqa

Uganda Motorcycle Taximan Sets Himself on Fire after the Police had Seized his only Source of Income

Hussein Walugembe became desperate after his only source of income was seized.

A motorcycle taxi operator died in Uganda on Friday after setting himself on fire inside a police station.

Hussein Walugembe, 29, had visited the police station in Masaka, central Uganda, several times to retrieve his vehicle, locally known as boda boda, which was impounded on Tuesday for violating a curfew.

A police officer was asking him to pay 100,000 Ugandan shillings (about $27), much higher than the legal fine of 40,000 shillings (about $10), according to a friend who was at the police station with Walugembe.

What happened?

Mr Walugembe reportedly became frustrated with the police after visiting the station several times to demand they release his bike.

On Thursday, he locked himself into a room at the station and set himself alight using petrol concealed in a water bottle.

Officers at the station ferried water in jerrycans to put out the fire.

An officer who was with him at the time suffered minor injuries and several files and computers were destroyed.

Regional police spokesperson Paul Kangave said an investigation had been launched into the self-immolation and into the conduct of the entire traffic department.

He said the force's Professional Standards Unit would be looking into allegations that the officers were demanding bribes after vehicles were impounded for flouting lockdown restrictions.

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