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Withdrawal of army from Mak will be gradual-defence minister

Defense Ministry officials appear before committee

Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT  |  The Minister of Defense and Veterans Affairs Adolf Mwesige has said that the withdrawal of the army from Makerere University will be gradual.  

On Wednesday, officials from the Ministry led by Mwesige, Lt Gen. Wilson Mbadi the Deputy Army Commander, the Minister of Internal Affairs Mario Obiga Kania were appearing before the Parliamentary committee on education to answer queries of brutality against students by the army.  

The army was accused of brutalizing students who were demonstrating against the 15% fees increment. 

In many occasions according to students, teargas canisters were tossed into halls of residents affecting students who were not participating in the demonstration.   

Mwesige told MPs led by the committee vice-chairperson John Twesigye that the army that responded to the Makerere University crisis was deployed has been at the university since 2018 in the wake of murders, robberies in the country. 

He says that although they are withdrawing from Makerere University, the withdrawal will be gradual since they do not want to leave Makerere unattended too.

Lt .Gen Mbadi, says that the soldiers who brutalized the students are being investigated. He told the committee that the army does not tolerate any form of brutality.

Mario Obiga Kania, the Minister for Internal Affairs says that as far as sexual harassment of students are concerned, they have never registered any complaints formally that during the chaos, any student was harassed sexually. 

Winfred Kiiza the Kasese Woman MP questioned why UPDF appears to have deployed without knowledge of the university authorities.

The officials were also questioned over reports that several people carry guns in and outside lecture rooms at the University.   

Julius Achon, the MP Otuke County said that there are many guns at the university and several spies in classrooms. 

However, Mwesige told the committee that it is not a crime for spies to be at the Makerere as long as they are doing their job. He also told the committee that it is not permitted for someone to enter with guns inside the classrooms and if there is such a case they will follow it up.  

On Monday appearing before the committee, Makerere University students led by Guild President Julius Katerega told the committee that students are intimidated by plain-clothed security personnel with guns in and outside the university premises.



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