The government of Uganda over the years twice refused to avail travel documents for Alfred Olango, the Ugandan man who was felled by a policeman’s bullet on Tuesday in El Cajon, southern California, USA.
According to US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) the 38-year old Olango, who arrived in the US as a refugee in 1991, was supposed to be deported after he was convicted for transporting and selling narcotics in the US.
However, ICE says the Uganda government refused to avail Olango with the travel documents needed for his deportation, forcing the US government to imprison him. He was later to be released in 2003 and placed under an order of supervision that directed him to report to the agency regularly, ICE western regional communications director Virginia Kice said in a statement.
According to Kice, Olango was again arrested in 2009, after serving prison time for a firearms charge conviction in Colorado. That time ICE tried to deport him for the second time but allegedly failed after the Uganda government once again refused to grant him travel documents necessary to effect the deportation, Kice said, adding that the last time Olango was in contact with ICE as required was in February 2015.
By press time efforts to contact Ugandan internal affairs ministry spokesperson Pamela Ankunda over the US government’s allegations were futile.
Olango was killed on Tuesday after his sister dialed 911, asking police to help because he was ‘not acting like himself’. His killing has since sparked off protests from mostly black protestors in El Cajon who accuse the US police of carrying out racially-instigated killings.
El Cajon police Chief Jeff Davis said Mr Olango died after one officer fired an electronic stun gun and another officer simultaneously fired his firearm several times.
Police, who had already acknowledged that the object was not a weapon, confirmed on Wednesday that the object Olango possessed was a three inches (7.6cm) long silver vaping cigarette.
By press time it was not possible to ascertain whether Olango’s body would be returned to Uganda. However, yesterday the US Embassy in Uganda sent a message of condolence to the family of the deceased.
“We are aware of reports that on September 29, Alfred Olango was shot and killed during an incident with law enforcement officers in El Cajon, California. We extend our deepest condolences to Mr. Olango’s family and friends,” reads the statement posted on the embassy Facebook page on Thursday.
Meanwhile, at a news conference organised by the Rev Shane Harris, the president of the San Diego Chapter of the National Action Network (NAN), Olango’s mother Pamela Benge denied the deceased was ‘mentally-ill’.
According to Ms Benge and the family lawyer Dan Gilleon, the deceased was ‘grief-stricken’ after losing a close friend.
“Alfred was not mentally ill. He was going through a mental emergency – a mental breakdown – because he had lost someone he loved dearly. We all go through a bad day,” Gilleon said at the news conference.