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West Nile Leaders Advocate for Review of URA Enforcement Operations Following Fatal Incident

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Local leaders in the West Nile region are urging the Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) to conduct a comprehensive review of its tax enforcement operations to prevent the loss of lives and ensure the safety of citizens. This plea comes in the wake of the tragic death of Moses Atidra, a resident of Pamachi village in Madi Okollo district, who succumbed to injuries sustained during a URA operation to impound unregistered motorcycles in Okollo Town Council.

The incident took a deadly turn when URA enforcement officers allegedly resorted to opening fire after facing resistance from residents attempting to prevent the impounding of motorcycles. The confrontation resulted in injuries to Patience Atizuyo, Derick Opari, and Jovan, in addition to the unfortunate death of Moses Atidra at Nebbi General Hospital.

Expressing their concerns, local leaders in the region are calling attention to what they perceive as excessive and lethal use of force by URA enforcement teams on unarmed civilians. They emphasize the need for URA officials to adopt a more humane and professional approach, respecting human rights in their efforts for domestic resource mobilization and combatting illicit financial flows.

Denis Oguzu Lee, the Member of Parliament for Maracha County, condemned the reported actions of some URA enforcement officials as both unlawful and inhumane, urging a review of enforcement strategies. He emphasized the importance of adopting approaches that uphold the rule of law and public safety.

Swaib Toko, the Madi Okollo Resident District Commissioner, stressed the urgency for URA management to reassess their Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) in domestic resource mobilization operations, prioritizing public safety.

Joanne Aniku Okia, the Woman Member of Parliament for Madi Okollo district, affirmed their commitment to finding lasting solutions to prevent such clashes between the URA enforcement team and local residents.

Yovan Adriko, the Member of Parliament for Vurra County in Arua district, emphasized the need for not only reviewing tax enforcement strategies but also conducting mass sensitization on the importance of tax compliance.

Abel Kagumire, the Commissioner of Customs at URA, acknowledged the concerns and stated that the authority has adopted a new strategy that involves educating and engaging taxpayers before resorting to enforcement actions.

This incident is not the first time that URA operations have resulted in loss of life and injury to innocent civilians, prompting calls for a thorough reassessment of enforcement practices to avoid such tragic outcomes.