Senior police officer held over Teso killing

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KAMPALA- A senior police officer in the accounts department at police headquarters at Naguru in Kampala has been arrested in connection with the killing of a local council chairperson, forgery and impersonation.

Mr Charles Opiko, a Superintendent of Police, is accused of involvement in the killing of Joseph Ochodu, who was the local council chairperson of Kichaboi Village, Kachumbala Sub-county, in Bukedea District, over a land wrangle.
A source at the police headquarters told Sunday Monitor on Friday that Mr Opiko was arrested on the orders of Gen Kale Kayihura, Inspector General of Police, after reading about the Teso killings in the Daily Monitor in which Mr Opiko was mentioned adversely.

This newspaper ran a six-part investigative series on Blood, Guns and Politics in Teso in which we chronicled incidents of killings in the sub-region and many of which had gone without the perpetrators being brought to book.

The source said Mr Opiko was arrested at the weekend and was first detained at the Special Investigations Unit (SIU) in Kireka near Kampala where he was interrogated and later transferred on Wednesday to Bukedea District, where the crime is alleged to have been committed.

Mr Michael Odong, the police spokesperson for the East Kyoga region, confirmed Mr Opiko’s arrest, adding that he is being accused alongside five other suspects.

He said the slain Ochodu was a key eyewitness in the land conflict in which some people were hacked and beaten to death. Mr Odong said Mr Opiko was incriminated by the suspect in police cells who accused him of hiring him to kill Ochodu.

“The headquarters team picked interest and investigated the matter. [Mr] Opiko was arrested and has been transferred to Bukedea for further investigations and trail,” Mr Odong said.

The police said Mr Opiko is also being accused of using another person’s documents to join the Uganda Police Force. He allegedly picked documents belonging to a one Charles Opiko, a teacher, two decades ago and used them to join the Force.

“The people in his home village know him (SP Opiko) as Obukongo Pokasi but they have been wondering where he got the name Charles Opiko. There is a teacher accusing him of stealing his documents,” Mr Odong said.

This development comes barely a week after more than 500 police officers were removed from Busia, Malaba and Kisoro border after the locals accused them of abetting crimes, including killings, robbery, fraud and extortion.

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