Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | The deputy Inspector General of Police, Maj. Gen. Paul Lokech ‘the Lion of Mogadishu’ is dead.
“The IGP with deep sorrow regrets to announce the sudden demise of the Deputy Inspector General of Police, Major General Paul Lokech. He passed on from his home this morning. A detailed statement on the cause of death and burial arrangements will be availed in due course,” Police said in a statement.
Speaker of Parliament Jacob Oulanyah was among the first to pay tribute to Maj Gen Lokech.
“He was a leader willing to put his soul into any job to get it ‘Done’. He was dependable, committed and brought valor, patriotism and poise to all his tasks. He always stepped in the gap; rising against formidable challenges. Such a huge loss to the nation, May his soul rest in peace” said Oulanyah.
Who is Lokech?
Maj. Gen. Lokech earned his standing in the army as a fierce fighter against the Al Shabab in Somalia.
Lokech is one of the commanders credited for breaking the back of Al-Shabaab militants in Somalia when he was commander of UPDF contingent several times between 2011 and 2018.
Because of his relentless confrontation with Al-Shabaab insurgents and capturing key historical places like the Red Mosque in Somalia’s capital Mogadishu, the then Brigadier Lokech was nicknamed the ‘Lion of Mogadishu’.
Gen Lokech who was overall elections security operations commander and has been the lead in investigations into the attempted murder of Gen. Katumba Wamala.
President Yoweri Museveni, appointed Maj Gen Paul Lokech as Deputy Inspector General of Police, to replace Maj Gen Stephen Muzeyi Sabiiti on December 16 last year.
Gen Lokech was appointed into police force 28 days to January 14, presidential elections when tensions were very high. The election tempers shot up after the November 18 and 19 protests where security agencies shot and killed 54 people while dozens were left nursing wounds.
On December 30, Gen Lokech superintended an operation in Kalangala district where Kyagulanyi was arrested and airlifted back to Kampala.
Gen Lokech is credited for ordering the arrest of Special Forces Command –SFC soldiers that had allegedly been deployed by State Minister for water, Ronald Kibuule, to rob polling materials and rig Mukono North constituency elections in his favour.
Before the Police assignment
Maj Gen Lokech had been serving in South Sudan where he was deployed in November 2019. Gen Lokech was sent to South Sudan to monitor on behalf of the guarantors the South Sudan peace process, the assembling, screening, demobilization and integration of the armed forces of South Sudan.
Museveni between 2017 to 2018 redeployed Lokech to Somalia still as UPDF contingent commander and when he returned, he promoted him to the rank of Maj General. He immediately posted him to Jinja to command the Uganda Rapid Deployment Capability Centre.
Gen Lokech till recently was Chief of Staff of Uganda People’s Defence Air Force –UPDAF. He previously served as part of the commanders of Uganda’s peace-keeping forces in South Sudan.
The two-star General was part and parcel of Operation Safe Haven where UPDF extremely went offensive on rebels of Allied Democratic Front-ADF who were being commanded by now incarcerated Jamil Mukulu. The ADF was still based in the Democratic Republic of Congo- DRC.
Maj Gen Lokech also commanded UPDF Second Division which is based in Mbarara at Makenke barracks. Other places where Maj Gen Lokech was deployed include Russia where he was Uganda’s Defence Attaché.
Nevertheless, Maj Gen Lokech was in May last year on the spot for assaulting Kira Division traffic commander, Ruth Kyobutungi. Trouble started when ASP Kyobutungi stopped and reprimanded Lokech for driving on the road shoulder along Kireka-Kyaliwajjala road.
The scuffle ensued near Club Agenda 2000 and the general lost his cool, slapping the female traffic commander. It took the intervention of Kampala Metropolitan police commander Moses Kafeero to solve the matter as ASP Kyobutungi threatened to sue the General.