JINJA: Police hunt for bar owner over customer’s sudden death

Jinja, (UG)- The Police in Jinja are actively hunting for one James Mulopa, a local bar owner in Kalamoya Zone, Buwenge Town Council in Jinja District who is on the run following the sudden death of his customer under unclear circumstances.

The deceased identified as Zubair Sekiti, aged 19, a hawker in the area mysteriously collapsed dead at Mulopa’s bar on Wednesday night raising questions amongst the community members.

Kiira Regional Police Spokesperson SP James Mubi confirmed the incident to this publication and said according to police preliminary inquiries, Sekiti also known as Balikoowa, a resident of Kalamoya zone in Buwenge Town Council was first seen boozing and smoking Oris cigarettes at the bar before collapsing dead. 

“On the fateful night of February 7, 2024, at around 1 am, Zubair Sekiti also known as Balikoowa resident of the same area was seen in the company of other people boozing and smoking Oris cigarettes and waragi at Mulopa’s bar. However, Zubair Sekiti collapsed dead sparking question marks in the community surrounding his sudden death,” SP Mubi explained to DailyExpress on Thursday afternoon.

He added that the Police in Buwenge upon receiving information, swiftly responded to the scene and opened up a death inquiry file to commence prosecution-guided investigations surrounding the sudden death of Sekiti.

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The body of the deceased was on Thursday ferried to Jinja main hospital pending postmortem examination and forensic report following the submission of exhibits to the Government Analytical Laboratory (GAL). 

SP Mubi said the Regional Police in Kiira will embark on an operation to arrest a number of suspects including the bar owner, and that once the report comes out indicating that the deceased was murdered and disguised as a sudden death.

He clarified that once arrested, Mulopa faces charges related to selling prohibited cigarettes to a minor and permitting smoking in smoking-free zones.

“Mulopa is to be charged for permitting smoking in smoking-free zones, selling prohibited cigarettes to a minor because cigarette smoking is allowed to persons above 21 years. If it’s proved that the deceased was murdered subsequently suspects will be arrested,” Mubi said.

He added that the Kiira regional police command will soon start enforcement drives against culprits who violate the Tobacco Control Act by smuggling the banned Oris cigarettes, a habit which is common in music and show promoters in the area.

It should be noted that the Tobacco Control Act bans the importation and use of Oris cigarettes in Uganda, while general smoking is prohibited in smoking-free zones, especially in public places like bars, hotels, hospitals, schools, lodges, offices, recreation centres, mosques, churches, among others. 

According to the Tobacco Control Act, Cigarette smoking is not allowed in persons below 21 years, and cigarettes are sold in packets, not sticks.

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Cigarette smoking causes cancer, bad breath, reduces blood flow, etc and police have since encouraged all stakeholders like the Office of the District and City Health officers, civil organizations, political leaders, parents, and religious and cultural leaders to join the enforcement drives.

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