9 Gulu journalists escape death after tree branch smashes roof

Gulu RDC Santo Okot Lapolo (centre) during a past event. His office is also under the shade of the tree whose branch fell. File photo. 

GULU–Nine journalists Thursday morning escaped death after a tree branch fell on top of the roof of the Northern Uganda Media Club building in Gulu town.

The journalists include; Emmy Ojara reporter for Uganda Radio network, Geoffrey Okot for Choice Fm, John Muto Ono Black Star News-New York and Simon Wokorach of Gulu Fm.

Others are David Okema, a freelancer corresponding for Post Media Limited (PML Daily), Ronnie Layoo, a freelance reporter with NBSTV, Gladys Oroma, Sam Ojok the Numec Official and Godfrey Komakech, a blogger.

Okot, who was conducting a phone interview outside the room, said he saw the tree branch slitting from the main tree and falling on the roof where his colleagues were gathered.

“I was in shock, and I couldn’t make any alarm and my conscience was that my colleagues will not survive,” he said.

Okot said it’s was fortunate enough that the falling branches first hit the toilet building which reduced the force at which it was supposed to hit the conference roof.

Layoo said the incident is similar to the May incident where more than five journalists got circuited by thunderbolt from the same building.

John Muto, a veteran journalist who formally worked with Daily Monitor, said he was not even aware how the tree branch fell.

“I just saw my colleagues scampering for safety and I didn’t know what was happening. And I was the last man left in the room,” he said.

The veteran journalist who has just celebrated his 65th birthday said Gulu Municipality should cut down the colonial trees which were planted in 1940s because they are weak and are posing potential danger to locals.

He argued that since Gulu Municipality wants to get city status, it would be good to plant new trees because the city plan is being affected by the presence of colonial tree leading to the narrow road construction which doesn’t suit city status.

However, Gulu Resident Commissioner, Santo Okot Lapolo, whose office is just under the shade of the same tree that fell, adviced administrators of NUMEC to liaise with the municipal environment officer so that the remaining tree is cut to ensure safety at work place.

Gulu town has, however, been experiencing several accident cause by falling tree both in rainy and dry season when it’s windy.

Recently, one person was killed along Gulu-Lacor road and last year in September a boda boda named, Richard Kilama was killed on the Gulu-Juba road.



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