Police Accused Of Training And Arming Ethnic Groups In Rwenzori Region

Police has come under fire from legislators for allegedly training and arming ethnic militias in Rwenzori sub region following tribal clashes that claimed the lives of over 92 people in July this year.

suspects at Bundibugyo police station
suspects at Bundibugyo police station

The MPs made the accusations when a team of senior police officers led by General Aronda Nyakairima, the Internal Affairs minister, his junior minister James Baba, Stephen Ochola, the Deputy Inspector General of Police and Steven Kagoda, the Internal Affairs Permanent Secretary amongst others appeared before the defense committee.

The officers were before the committee to defend the 2014/2015 Financial Year Ministerial Policy Statement for Uganda Police Force under Vote 144.

During the meeting, Muwanga Kivumbi, the shadow defense minister tasked Police to explain the ongoing training of 300 people under community policing in Rwenzori Sub-Region based on tribal lines.

He claimed that after training 300 youths from both the Basongora and Bamba communities three weeks ago, the police chief Kale Kayihura gave the Basongora 60 guns and the Bamba 40 guns.

Kivumbi condemned the decision by police to arm the communities, which he said could escalate conflicts in the sub region. He accused Kayihura of inciting hatred and war amongst the two rival communities.

However, other members of the committee led by Captain Mike Mukula, the Soroti Municipality MP and his Kigula counterpart Milton Muwuma tasked Kivumbi to substantiate his claims with proof saying the matter under contention was sensitive.

Kivumbi insisted that police had trained and armed people from the two communities and refused to withdraw the accusations as directed by Benny Namugwanya, the defense committee chairperson.

Namugwanya tasked Kivumbi to table evidence on the matter on Wednesday. In his response Steven Ochola, the deputy Inspector General of Police denied the accusations against the force.

He however, said police had conducted a crime prevention course involving recruits from all ethnic groups in the region including the Bakonjo, Bamba, Basongora, Banyabindi and others.

General Aronda Nyakairima, the Internal Affairs minister described Kivumbi’s accusations as outrageous and unfortunate adding that, what is being done in the region is to facilitate dialogue across the communities.

He said there was no group being trained and armed against another and that they have put in place reversal mechanisms to harmonize the communities.

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