The army have heightened patrols in Kampala city and its suburbs mounting check-points and carrying out searches and arrests to beef up police on fighting rising insecurity.
Heavily armed military personnel on foot patrols move on streets and suburbs every evening.
The army patrols are concentrated in poor and heavily populated neighbourhoods such as Nansana, Kasubi, Kireka and Namugongo and often carry out random arrests of suspected criminals and idlers as early as 9pm.
Each patrolling military group has more than 10 soldiers. During day, the soldiers retreat to government installations where they have camped.
The Defence and army spokesperson, Brig Richard Karemire, said the military deployments are in fulfilment of President Museveni’s strategic measures to fight crime in urban areas.
“We work alongside with other security agencies with police in the lead. There should not be any hullabaloo about the deployments,” Brig Karemire told Daily Monitor yesterday.
After the killing of Assistant Superintendent of Police Muhammad Kirumira by shooting in September 2018, which was preceded by several similar killings, Mr Museveni ordered the recruitment of 24,000 Local Defence Unit personnel to patrol Kampala Metropolitan area. The LDU recruits are still undergoing training.
At Independence Day anniversary celebrations in Kyotera District last month, the President hinted on a possibility that the armed killers are an organised group.
However, local leaders have complained that the soldiers carry out random arrests of innocent civilians, adding that their operations are hurting night businesses.
“Civilians found on the way are rounded up and taken to police stations. In the morning, the Local Council I chairpersons have to go to the police to identify each before they are released,” Kawempe South Councillor at City Hall Michael Zzigwa said yesterday.
Ms Mariam Namitala, the publicity secretary for Kamwokya Parish, said entertainment areas have started closing early because sometimes soldiers order them to or cause inconveniences when they arrest revellers inside bars at night.
“People are worried. The soldiers find pedestrians on the way and ask them where they are coming from and where they are going. If they do not get a satisfactory explanation, they carry out arrests,” Ms Namitala said.
Brig Karemire denied claims that the army were arresting innocent civilians.
“If you are not a suspect, why should you be worried of the soldiers? Only suspects are picked,” he said.
Under police watch
Mr Luke Owoyesigyire, the spokesperson for Kampala Metropolitan Police region, said all soldiers in the city operations are attached to police stations and under the police command. “We have always worked with sister agencies like the army to protect Ugandans. You also remember the President said army should work with us to ensure security in the city until LDUs complete their training and get deployment,” Mr Owoyesigyire said.
Nsanzimana Ernest ni Umwanditsi mukuru w’Ikinyamakuru Umuryango. Yatangiye gukorera iki kinyamakuru muri Nzeli 2016, afite Impamyabumenyi y’Icyiciro cya Kabiri cya Kaminuza (A0) mu Itangazamakuru n’Itumanaho yakuye muri Kaminuza y’u Rwanda Ishuri ry’ itangazamakuru n’ itumanaho