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CID director Akullo sends staff home amidst surging Covid-19 cases

CID director Grace Akullo. File Photo

Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Grace Akullo, the Director of Criminal Investigations Directorate-CID has sent staff home as COVID-19 cases surge in the police force. In her internal memo issued on Wednesday, Akullo ordered all staff off the CID headquarters at Kibuli to allow for disinfection of the offices and places frequented by civilians seeking services.

“Due to the prevailing situation of the Covid-19 (corona) pandemic, CID management has resolved to sanitize the CID headquarters starting 17/06/2021 to 20/06/2021. Staff under you shall be on call. We shall have the Director, Deputy Directors, Heads of Department/units and registry staff to come for work,” reads the memo.

Although Uganda Radio Network could not establish the number of CID personnel who have contracted COVID-19, a detective said Akullo took the decision after several personnel including some unit heads tested positive in a space of five days.

“I don’t have the actual figures about detectives who tested positive for Covid-19. But I want to tell you very many people here [CID] have tested positive since last week. Almost every office has positive cases. We may resolve to work from home if the situation worsens,” the detective said.

CID personnel have reportedly been advised to use these days to test for COVID-19 so that they return to work knowing their status. According to the sources, those that did not get the COVID-19 jab have also been advised to use these days to get vaccinated. Our reporter visited the CID headquarters and found the place calm and deserted with almost all the offices under lock and key.

Only a few police officers guarding crucial offices and others who had come to receive their first or second AstraZeneca jab could be seen around. Similarly, Naguru police headquarters has also ordered all unvaccinated police personnel to avoid going to the premises.

“We have been told to keep away from headquarters until we are vaccinated. Our boss said he knows it should not be mandatory but he has no choice. It looks like we are being forced to get the COVID-19 jab,” said a police officer on condition of anonymity.

Like the CID headquarters, Naguru police headquarters including the CCTV Command Centre, which often has a big number of officers also looked deserted. The most visible personnel are counter-terrorism officers guarding the premises. Dr Moses Byaruhanga, the Director of Health Services in the Uganda Police Force told URN last month that 26,550 out of close to 47,000 police personnel had been vaccinated. Police received 20,000 doses of AstraZeneca vaccines but others were catered for under local government programs.

Kampala Metropolitan policing area alone has over 13,000 personnel but only 7,833 were vaccinated. This means that more than 5,000 missed the vaccination. The police fraternity has at least lost 10 personnel to COVID-19 including SP Matthias Turyasingura and SSP Samuel Bamuzibire, both senior commanders.

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