December 20, 2007 / 11:53 AM / 10 years ago

100 arrested for not having toilets

KAMPALA (Reuters) - Local authorities have arrested at least 100 Ugandans for failing to build toilets in their homes in the midst of a cholera epidemic that has killed 8 people and infected 164, state media reported Wednesday.

<p>An elderly man uses a walking stick as he walks past concrete latrine covers at Okidi camp in Kitgum June 10, 2007. Local authorities have arrested at least 100 Ugandans for failing to build toilets in their homes in the midst of a cholera epidemic that has killed 8 people and infected 164, state media reported Wednesday. REUTERS/Euan Denholm</p>

“We cannot watch as people die (of cholera),” northwestern Bulisa district administrator Norbert Turyahikayo told the New Vision daily, justifying the arrest of Ugandans found to have huts with no pit latrines Tuesday.

Police spokesman Hassan Kasinje told Reuters the building of homes without proper toilets was forbidden in Uganda, though he did not know of the arrests.

“It is illegal ... but it is not an arrestable offence. Whoever arrested them is wrong,” he said. “A health officer is supposed to instruct them to build or they can be cautioned.”

In September, 70 Ugandans in the east were seized for the same offence. Many in remote villages lack latrines.

Cholera epidemics spread by poor sanitation are common.

Reporting by Tim Cocks; Editing by Janet Lawrence

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