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Page last updated at 19:36 GMT, Thursday, 18 September 2008 20:36 UK

Ugandan killed for smoking in bar

Map of Uganda

Ugandan officials have expressed shock after a mob killed a man who refused to stop smoking in a public bar.

Customers at the village bar in eastern Uganda attacked the man after he repeatedly refused to respect a smoking ban, according to witnesses.

It is the first known incident of its kind since Uganda introduced a public smoking ban four years ago.

An official in the eastern district of Tororo, where the killing took place, called it a "very sad moment".

"I'm really not happy with it," John Okeya told the BBC's Focus on Africa programme.

"He had broken the law, but they should have taken it to the police for the law to take its course."

Strangled

The BBC's Abraham Odeke said the man had been sitting in the Soni-Ogwang bar in Nagongera, Tororo, smoking and drinking nguli - a popular local spirit.

He is said to have made "provocative comments" to other customers when urged to stop smoking, before being attacked and strangled.

Many locals have condemned the killing.

"These people who killed made a mistake because the law does not say kill a smoker, the law says take the smoker to the authoritiy concerned," said one.

But another man said the mob was right to kill the smoker.

"He was told to move away and smoke from outside and he refused," he said.

Local police, who have rounded up several suspects, say they are shocked by an increase in mob justice in this part of Uganda.

Uganda is one of several east African countries to have introduced bans on smoking in public places.



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