Security personnel in Gulu city failed to enforce curfew on Christmas night as thousands of revelers stormed the streets, night clubs and other places of social gatherings to party.
A number of hangouts and nightclubs opened for business in violation of the ban on their operations and the nighttime curfew that runs from 7 pm to 5:30 am.
Some of the hangouts that opened for business include Bjs in Pece –Laroo Division, and Buganda Pub in Bardege –Layibi Division, Wine Garage, Heldan Inn, The Bus Terminal, Password, and KSP Hotel among others. Only one police Truck registration number UP 9110, Pickup registration number UP 550, and a white Noah registration number UAP/ 088D as well as dozens of security personnel on foo, were seen patrolling the busy streets.
By 10 pm, Wine Garage –a famous hangout in Senior Quarters was filled with hundreds of revelers who paid Shillings 10,000 in the entry fees. Loud music from Wine Garage could be heard from a distance. At Bjs hangout that had close to 500 revelers in and outside of the premises, police and UPDF officers were seen pleading with the owners and the revelers at the gate to shut down the music and vacate the premises.
However, this plea fell on deaf ears prompting the officers to back off in silence. The security personnel managed to disperse thousands of revelers more than once from 4U Bar and Restaurant, Password, and the Bus Terminal. However, the revelers resumed partying every moment the security left.
Street gangs armed with sticks, knives, and moving in groups of 5 to 10 members took control of some of the streets. They assaulted some of the revelers and robbed their valuables including phones and handbags. Boda –boda riders who parked along the roadsides and in front of the hangouts made a kill as they from time to time carried the revelers from one spot to another at a fee slightly higher than the normal fares.
David Ongom Mudong, the Aswa River Region Police Spokesperson, and Francis Odoki Okello Rwotlonyo, the Deputy Gulu Resident City Commissioner couldn’t be reached for comment as their phones were turned off. Gulu Resident City Commissioner, Denise Odongpiny told URN later that he even surrendered his official vehicle to security to enforce the curfew restrictions in vain, something he says is very unfortunate.
Odongpiny also blamed Gulu City residents for being stubborn and failing to adhere to the COVID-19 containment measures.