The Uganda People’s Defense Forces (UPDF) and police have heavily deployed in Kampala in anticipation of chaos as detained Kyadondo East MP, Robert Kyagulanyi, aka Bobi Wine appears in General Court Martial tomorrow (August 23).
A visit to different police divisions and strategic junctions in Kampala showed heavy presence military and police personnel armed to the teeth. At Kampala Central Police Station (CPS) there were over four military patrol vehicles whereas soldiers were seen at City Square, Busega junction, Katwe Division Police headquarters and at Kaleerwe-Gayaza Road junction.
A senior police officer intimated to Daily Monitor that security chiefs among others Kampala Metropolitan Policing Area commander, Regional and Divisional police commanders, operations commanders from Special Forces Command (SFC) and Military police arrived at CPS at 10am for a planning meeting.
“The meeting was called to ensure that the security forces are not surprised by protesters like it happened on Monday. They have agreed to deploy early enough because there are signs that people are likely to protest Bobi Wine trial in military court,” a source said.
Army and police were swiftly deployed on Monday to quash protests against the incarceration of Mr Kyagulanyi who was arrested in Arua last week where he and other MPs like Francis Zaake, Gerald Karuhanga, Paul Mwiru, and Ex-MP Michael Mabike had gone to canvass votes for MP elect Kassiano Wadri.
Sources said over 2000 military and police personnel have been deployed and others put on standby to quash any protests in Kampala and its outskirts. “Police has prepared 1500 and army has assigned 700 soldiers to back up police in ensuring calmness in Kampala. Deployments will be heightened today [yesterday] in the night,” a source added.
Police spokesperson, Emilian Kayima, answered in affirmative when asked on whether they were anticipating riots a reason they have sought army backup in advance.
“There are threats of violence on social media and what we have got from our intelligence sources. People are being intimidated not to come to town and not to open up their businesses. The security situation can be maintained by concerned agencies and that is the police and army,” Mr Kayima said.
Mr Kayima said army and police were there to ensure people go to their work uninterrupted but also to waive away fear and intimidation that have been created among people.
Asked about a command centre that has reportedly been set up at CPS, Mr Kayima said: “Kampala Metropolitan Police Area [KMP] commander sits at CPS and oversees the entire Kampala metropolitan security. He leads peace and strategic plans and meetings where he and other security commanders appreciate the existing security threats and act accordingly.”
However, Mr Kayima declined to reveal the number of police and army personnel prepared to encounter riots saying it is not their nature to divulge security plans. He warned that security forces were more than ready to protect citizens and urged people to attend to their business without fear.
Police said the 137 suspects arrested during the Monday protests were being screened so that innocent ones can be released. Mr Kayima added that the remaining suspects will be charged in courts before this week ends.