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Human rights activists, lawyers want LDU disbanded

FILE PHOTO: An LDU officer assaults a trader in Kampala

Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Human rights lawyers under the Legal Aid Service Providers Network-LASPNET have called for the immediate disbandment of the Local Defense Unit-LDU, which they have branded unruly.

The activists made the call at a media briefing at Piato restaurant in Kampala on Thursday.

They argued that the brutal acts of LDU officers have been more evident during the Covid-19 lockdown where a significant number of Ugandans are subjected to cruel and inhumane treatment sometimes leading to loss of lives.

LASPNET executive director, Sylvia Namubiru Mukasa identified some of the causalities as 65-year-old Francis Ogwanga Munu in Oyam district and Jacquline Nagasha in Masaka who was shot together with Francis Musasizi by her estranged husband Private Robert Muyaga.

She also cited the case of 25-year-old Willis Oloya who was shot by LDUs in Agago district leading to the amputation of his leg and the torture of Mityana LC V chairperson Joseph Luzige by four LDU officers.

Namubiru said it is upon this background that they want parliament to engage the Internal Affairs Ministry to disband the LDUs, saying they are no longer serving the purpose for which they were recruited.

The lawyers also called upon the Inspector General of Police, Martin Okoth Ochola and the Chief of Defense Forces Gen. David Muhoozi to exercise their powers stipulated in section 4(1)(a) of the Police Act and the section 29(2)(b) UPDF Act 2005 respectively to professionalize and modern the forces under their command.

Namubiru noted that amidst all the criminal activities by security officers, only a handful of cases have been arraigned before courts of law.

Namubiru also asked government to pronounce the filling of the vacant position of the chairperson of Uganda Human Rights Commission-UHRC following the demise of the late Med Kaggwa.

According to Namubiru, UHRC can’t fulfill its mandate due to lack of sufficient leadership.

LASPNET brings together 55 legal aid service providers.

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