Saturday February 20 2016

10 arrested as army, police deploy in city

Suspects lie on an armoured personel carrier in

Suspects lie on an armoured personel carrier in Najjanankumbi, Kampala. Photo by Abubaker Lubowa 

By Albert Tumwine, Joseph Kato and Risdel Kasasira

KAMPALA. The Uganda People’s Defence Forces (UPDF), together with anti-riot police, yesterday heavily deployed around Kisekka Market, Bwaise, Wandegeya, and other areas in Kampala following a police raid on FDC offices in Najjanankumbi.

The Kampala Metropolitan Police spokesperson Patrick Onyango said at least 10 people were arrested as protesters blocked roads and burnt tyres at Kisekka Market in the city centre and Bwaise, a Kampala suburb, in protest of the police raid. There were no cases of injuries, Mr Onyango said.
The deployments, according to the police spokesperson, Mr Patrick Onyango, would remain until the situation in the city stabilises and post-election tension subsides. He claimed they had learnt that there were groups of people moving on motorcycles threatening traders that they should not open their shops because a war would start soon.

“We cannot allow traders to be intimidated by thugs. We have decided to deploy foot soldiers to ensure that no one interferes with business operations,” said Mr Onyango.
On spot checks by the Daily Monitor in areas of Kiseka market, Wandegeya, Lubaga, and Bwaise revealed heavy police and military deployment. City dwellers lined up along the roads as armed security personnel patrolled the streets.

Moving in trucks, soldiers entered the city through Jinja road and deployed in Kisenyi, in down-town Kampala and Kisekka Market where traders had closed shops. Kisekka Market has previously been the epicenter of demonstrations in Kampala.
An eye witness told Daily Monitor that the army deployed after a police vehicle tyre was deflated by two people using nails. “The police came and fired teargas and left the vehicle behind. Moments later, a truck carrying soldiers came,” he said.

The army spokesperson, Lt Col Paddy Ankunda, said the UPDF deployment was not meant to harm people but to keep peace and security. “It’s trouble makers who should be worried. UPDF deployment on the streets should be seen as a sign of peace and security,” he said.
The security forces had taken positions around most roundabouts in town as others made foot as well as motorised patrols in the city suburbs. In Wandegeya, the army deployed at the traffic lights on Bombo Road. The soldiers had also deployed near fuel stations.

Both police and army had also heavily deployed in Bwaise. Mr William Katende, a resident, said the deployment came after a group of youth blocked the road from Bwaise to Kawempe in protest of police storming the FDC office.
“They barricaded the road using stones, wood and vehicle tyres. After blocking the roads, they lit a fire and the next thing police deployed,” Mr Katende said, adding: “The situation is not good, people are scared and we don’t know what will happen.”