KAMPALA. The Ministry of Defence says it has arrested two people for allegedly extorting money from 470 potential recruits into the Local Defence Unit (LDU) in four districts of eastern Uganda.
According to a press statement issued yesterday, the two have been identified as Ms Marina Ether, 33, and Mr Abdul Chelengat, 40.
Ms Ether, who is a resident of Bombo Town, is held at Maganjo Police Station for alledgedly collecting unspecified amount of money from 220 people from Namisindwa and Manafwa districts, promising that they would be recruited into the LDU force in Kampala.
“The 220 people got stranded at Maganjo Zone A inside a perimeter wall fence. Our LDU of Kawempe battalion together with police acting on a tip off were able to arrest the suspect,” the statement reads.
Mr Chelengat was arrested in Wankulukuku, Rubaga Division last Tuesday for alledgedly conning more than 250 people and transporting them from Sebei Sub-region in the districts of Kapchorwa and Bukwo to Kampala after collecting unspecified sums of money from them to facilitate their recruitment into LDU.
“Chelengat collaborated with Sam Omara, the chairman of Old Kampala Zone in Kampala Central Division, who is still at large, to sign recommendation letters to more than 250 aspiring recruits,” the statement read, adding that the duo have been taking advantage of the ongoing recruitment drive.
Last year at the height of lawlessness in the country, President Museveni ordered the recruitment of 24,000 LDUs to provide security around Kampala and Wakiso districts in addition to installation of security cameras on streets. However, only 6,000 LDUs were recruited.
Last week, the Uganda People’s Defence Forces kicked off the second recruitment exercise from different centres of the country targeting to recruit 3,000 youths.
Lt Col Deo Akiiki, the deputy army spokesperson, said no one is supposed to pay any money for the exercise.
Mr Luke Owoyesigire, the Kampala Metropolitan deputy police spokesperson, yesterday said: “We are told it was a corporal involved and she paid back some of the money and we left the matter to the UPDF to handle since it does not concern us.”
When asked whether the victims have been resettled in their homes, Lt Col Akiiki said they are working with police to ensure that they are transported back to their homes.
“By press time which was Friday, they were still in Maganjo and were working with them to ensure that their money is refunded. We are working out a method with the Police of returning them to their homes,” he said.