There was moment of drama in Lira town, Uganda, on Wednesday, March 21, when a rogue driver locked up two traffic police officers inside a taxi for eight hours.
The police officers suffered the humiliation near White House Hotel, after the driver they were trailing for allegedly parking his vehicle on the wrong side of the road locked them in the vehicle, eyewitnesses said.
The taxi had the words “Jesus is Lord” at the front and “In God we Trust” at the rear but people kept saying the car was Satanic.
“After his vehicle was impounded, two police officers entered in his car and ordered the driver to drive them to Lira Central Police Station. But the man came out, rubbed his right hand on the vehicle and told the officers to get out. The traffic officers got stuck in the car,” an eyewitness said.
Another eyewitness said: “The traffic police failed to get out of the taxi, when they wanted to drive it to Lira Central Police Station (CPS) for wrong parking. It took the owner to come all the way from Mbale to get the traffic officers out and he finally drove it himself to CPS.”
It’s about a two-hour drive from Mbale to Lira town.
At some point, armed police officers fired teargas to disperse the crowds that came around to witness the incident firsthand, another eyewitness said.
Even when the vehicle was driven to CPS, crowds followed it to see if the owner would do something else to it or the police officers.
After their release from the vehicle, the police officers sought refuge at the nearby White House Hotel, where they were also locked up for safety.
Lira District police commander, Mr Joel Tubanone, said the driver had locked their officers in the vehicle before handing over the key to another person.
“He refused to comply with our traffic officers. First of all he had parked wrongly and when we told him to remove the vehicle he refused,” he said.
“There was a lot of confusion when news started spreading that the police were stuck in a witchcraft taxi. So people came in big numbers to see what type of vehicle it was and also to know its owner. Crowds followed the vehicle after the driver gave us the key and drove it to police, to see if it is true there is a witchcraft vehicle,” he said.