Hussein Walugembe, a motorbike (boda-boda) taxi rider in Uganda has died after setting fire to himself inside a police station after his bike was seized by the police who demanded a $40 bribe from him to release his vehicle.
He was apparently arrested as motorbike riders have been banned from carrying passengers as part of efforts to control the spread of coronavirus. They are only able to operate between 06:30 and 17:00 local time and can only transport cargo.
The 29-year-old’s bike was seized in the south-western district of Masaka, about 135km (85 miles) from the capital, Kampala, on Monday.
Police claimed Walugembe had lent his motorbike to a friend, who was caught ferrying a passenger on Monday.
The entire traffic department is now under investigation for bribery according to a police source.
Walugembe had been living in police quarters and been supplying food to the force.
He was angery with the police after visiting the station several times to demand they release his bike and on Thursday, he locked himself into a room at the station and set himself alight using petrol concealed in a water bottle.
Officers at the station ferried water in jerrycans to put out the fire effortlessly.
An officer who was with him at the time suffered minor injuries and several files and computers were destroyed.
Regional police spokesperson Paul Kangave said an investigation had been launched into the self-immolation and into the conduct of the entire traffic department.