Andrew Felix Kaweesi, the Director of Operations in Uganda Police Force has rushed to Masaka region amidst reports of escalating insecurity, two days after a police officer was shot dead and the gun taken by unknown thugs.
On Tuesday, unknown thugs raided Nankondo police post in Lwebitakuli sub county, Sembabule district, shot Sgt Godfrey Japyem dead. The assailants also took away Japyem’s SMG gun.
Greater Masaka region has witnessed a steady increase of homicides. For example, Lwengo residents are also up in arms against Paul Wataka, the district police commander for allegedly failing to stem killings.
In August this year, Lwengo residents staged protests demanding for removal of Wataka after he failed to explain how at least ten people’s violent deaths have yielded no action.
The residents led by Bruce Tushabe, the coordinator of Volunteer Uganda asked IGP Kale Kayihura appoint a special team to investigate the killings because the current DPC had failed.
Tushabe claims that although several suspects had been arrested in connection with murder of Moses Ssamula, a Mbirizi businessman, Wataka released Ronald Kabenge, a key suspect.
In Masaka, at least four guns have been stolen since the year begun after unknown thugs killed security guards.
Amid these escalating criminal cases, Kaweesi made an impromptu visit to Bukomansimbi, Sembabule, Kalungu and Masaka police stations to evaluate the security situation in these areas.
Kaweesi says he has observed several security lapses in several police stations including Masaka Central police. He says he was surprised when he found no guard at Masaka central police armory. He also says he did not find guards at Masaka central police which exposes it to terror attack.
Andrew Kaweesi also said he is investigating reports that several police stations in Bukakata, Buwunga, Namirembe, Kasensero and Sembabule no longer operate. He explains that he has received reports that police officers in these areas closed their offices a long time ago.
Kaweesi accused Maxwell Ogwal, the Greater Masaka Regional Police Commander and John Mwaule, the Masaka DPC of negligence.
Francis Kimuli, the Buwunga Sub County LC3 Chairman told Kaweesi that the entire sub county has only four police officers who operate around the sub county. He says criminals exploit this under policing to terrorize fishermen.
Kimuli gives an example of an incident last month when thugs staged illegal road blocks near Naruzzaali village and killed a businessman.
In response, John Mwaule, the Masaka district police commander noted that the district lacks enough man power. He claims that although they have over 60 investigating officers, the uniform police officers are too few to man the entire district.
Mwaule also notes that they have only one patrol vehicle that cannot effectively be relied on during emergencies.
Maxwell Ogwal, the Regional Police commander has asked Kaweesi to ensure they deploy new police officers to Masaka region. He says Uganda police force should immediately deploy several of the new police recruits to the region.
At least 30 police officers have been killed on duty in the last two years.