Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | The Uganda Police continues to defend the actions of their personnel during last week’s protests following the arrest of National Unity Platform presidential candidate, Robert Kyagulanyi Ssentamu, in which dozensa of people were shot dead.
Speaking to journalists at the Uganda Media Centre during the triweekly security briefing, Fred Enanga, the spokesperson of the Uganda Police Force said that considering the risk that their officers were exposed to, their reaction was appropriate in trying to quell the protests.
The Uganda Police and other security agencies have come under sharp scrutiny following the killing of last week of over 50 unarmed people most of whom were not protesting. When asked whether they believe there were operational mistakes that need to be punished, Enanga said that although it’s regrettable that people died, it is hard to blame the officers who shot them because they fulfilled all the conditions for firing at people.
Last week the minister of security Gen Elly Tumwine, said that the police or other armed security personnel have a right to shoot and kill any rioters who threaten their lives. This statement elicited reactions by lawyers questioning the law under which such actions can take place. Lawyers in their different organizations over the weekend said the police’s duty is to protect people’s lives and not to take it without following the legally provided for procedures for taking one’s life.
Meanwhile, on those killed in the two days of mayhem, Enanga said that contrary to some media reports, their records show that only 45 people; 39 men and six women were killed. He challenged those with contrary figures to provide proof such as postmortem reports clearly indicating the cause of death.
On the arrest of Kyagulanyi’s advance team that had gone to organize today’s rally in the Tooro sub region, Enanga said this was done in order to ensure that they don’t join him and cause the same fracas witnessed last week.
Media reports indicated that police in Kyegegwa district, broke into hotel rooms of Kyagulanyi’s advance team, arresting them without clearly stating the reason why.