Fly squad commander terminates services of all operatives

Tuesday November 06 2018
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Commandant of the FSU Peter Kakonge

The police has terminated the services of all Flying Squad Operatives from different parts of the county.

The more than 80 operatives, working as Special Police constables on contracts have stopped working with the force with immediate effect.

The decision by the police top management was communicated through an internal memo pinned at the flying Squad Headquarters at Central Police Station Kampala, on Monday November 5.

According to the Memo, the operative's services are terminated until further notice.

"All those who have been working with Flying Squad as operatives their services have been terminated with effect from 5th November 2018 until further notice," reads the warning memo signed under the stamp of the Commandant Flying Squad, Peter Kakonge.

The termination of operatives leaves only fully trained and recognised police officers as part of the Flying Squad uniformed personnel.
The Operatives most of whom have been in the unit since it was founded in 2005 as an Operation codenamed 'Wembley' are believed to have participated in tarnishing the image of the police elite unit which was formed to handle gun related crimes, motor vehicle robberies and kidnaps.

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The unit operated for many years with only its management being police officers while the biggest share of its personnel remained operatives until 2016 when the former Commandant ordered all personnel to undergo police basic training if they wanted to be enrolled into the force formally.

Some of the operatives at the time went for the training and were transferred upon being passed out while others remained as SPCs.

Related stories

  • Flying Squad operatives uncertain about future

    Wednesday May 09 2018


    There was a sombre mood at the Flying Squad Unit headquarters at Kampala Central Police Station on Tuesday afternoon shortly after news of the disbandment of the unit broke.

    The Inspector General of Police, Martin Okoth-Ochola yesterday disbanded Flying Squad Unit and replaced it with Organised Crime Department (OCD) led by Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP), Mark Odong.

    IGP Ochola then redeployed ACP Herbert Muhangi, the former commandant of the Flying Squad Unit, to head the Manpower and Audit department under the Human Resource Administration Directorate.

    The Flying Squad Unit has been known for handling gun related crimes and other high profile cases like kidnap and vehicle theft.

    The disbandment of the unit comes at a time when police is struggling with armed robberies, motor vehicle thefts, kidnaps, murders and many other high profile cases. Flying Squad has been the most dreaded unit in the Uganda Police Force due to its speed, intelligence capacity, ability to track criminals, high technological capability and reputation for easily resolving complex violent crimes.

    The unit has also had its share of bad news with complaints of torture, extortion and even armed crimes levied against them. This however didn't stop the police top management from trusting its abilities.

    Shortly after news of the disbandment of the unit broke, this reporter walked through its former headquarters at Kampala Central Police Station building.

    The once energetic and jovial operatives under the unit looked dejected. The corridors were full of whispers of an uncertain future as they await reconstitution by Grace Akullo, the Director Criminal Investigations Department as directed by the IGP.

    In a message issued on Tuesday afternoon, all personnel in the disbanded unit are expected to make reports on all resources available and report to the CID Headquarters by May 16, 2018.

    READ:

    IGP Ochola disbands Flying Squad Unit

    Tuesday May 08 2018

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    KAMPALA. Inspector General of Police, Martins Okoth Ochola, has disbanded violent police crack unit, the Flying Squad Unit (FSU).
    FSU commanded by Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP), Herbert Muhangi, has been known for hunting down suspects in high profile cases.

    In his message to all directors and unit heads, IGP Ochola replaced the elite squad with a new unit dubbed Organised Crime Department (OCD) which he has placed under the command of former Special Investigations Unit (SIU), Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP), Mark Odong.
    In his second week as IGP, Mr Ochola reverted 19 specialised units that directly reported to former IGP Gen Kale Kayihura, to the directorate of Criminal Investigations headed by AIGP Grace Akullo.

    In the message, ACP Muhangi was appointed to Human Resource Management headed by AIGP Moses Balimwoyo as head of Manpower and Audit department.
    Although FSU has been managing to curb some crimes, gun violence, kidnap, armed robberies and murder crimes have been persistent.

    This comes just weeks after

    Disband Police Flying Squad, activists tell Ochola

    Tuesday March 06 2018

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    The civil society group has challenged the incoming Inspector General of Police, Mr Martin Okoth-Ochola, to clear the image of the Force.

    The activists also demanded that the new IGP disbands the notorious crime preventers, the Police Flying Squad and bring back the special investigations department to deal with the rising crime.

    Dr Livingstone Sewanyana, the executive director of Foundation for Human Rights Initiative, said it is high time the new IGP acted and started by disbanding the notorious criminal gangs who have been operating alongside the police.

    “For a start, he needs to deal with the question of crime preventers. I don’t think we need crime preventers. He needs to sort out the question of militias that have infiltrated the police. He needs to address that and have them disbanded. He must also disband these so called flying squads that have become torture squads,” he said yesterday.

    He said the changes in the police structure are good if only they help to address the evils the Force was accused of under Gen Kale Kayihura.
    He said Gen Kayihura had presided over a Force that openly practised nepotism, corruption and lack of rule of law.

    The executive director of the National NGO Forum, Mr Richard Ssewakiryanga, said the changes offer the new IGP a chance to work even more.

    “You know when you have a new person, you can tap into new and fresh ideas, so my view is that yes its helpful for the police because after 10 or so years, sometimes you need to get some fresh ideas, new thinking so hopefully that’s what we will be seeing in the new appointments,” he said.

    He said the leadership of Gen Kayihura has been a challenge for the NGOs because of the various raids on their offices by thugs and called on the new bosses to investigate the attacks.

    fdraku@ug.nationmedia.com

    and bring back the special investigations department to deal with the rising crime.

    READ:

    Disband Police Flying Squad, activists tell Ochola

    Tuesday March 06 2018

    home03pix

    The civil society group has challenged the incoming Inspector General of Police, Mr Martin Okoth-Ochola, to clear the image of the Force.

    The activists also demanded that the new IGP disbands the notorious crime preventers, the Police Flying Squad and bring back the special investigations department to deal with the rising crime.

    Dr Livingstone Sewanyana, the executive director of Foundation for Human Rights Initiative, said it is high time the new IGP acted and started by disbanding the notorious criminal gangs who have been operating alongside the police.

    “For a start, he needs to deal with the question of crime preventers. I don’t think we need crime preventers. He needs to sort out the question of militias that have infiltrated the police. He needs to address that and have them disbanded. He must also disband these so called flying squads that have become torture squads,” he said yesterday.

    He said the changes in the police structure are good if only they help to address the evils the Force was accused of under Gen Kale Kayihura.
    He said Gen Kayihura had presided over a Force that openly practised nepotism, corruption and lack of rule of law.

    The executive director of the National NGO Forum, Mr Richard Ssewakiryanga, said the changes offer the new IGP a chance to work even more.

    “You know when you have a new person, you can tap into new and fresh ideas, so my view is that yes its helpful for the police because after 10 or so years, sometimes you need to get some fresh ideas, new thinking so hopefully that’s what we will be seeing in the new appointments,” he said.

    He said the leadership of Gen Kayihura has been a challenge for the NGOs because of the various raids on their offices by thugs and called on the new bosses to investigate the attacks.

    fdraku@ug.nationmedia.com

    ALSO READ:

    FSU operative Faizal Katende still missing, court told

    Tuesday February 27 2018

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    A Police officer attached to the Flying Squad Unit, Faizal Katende, is still missing after he was allegedly kidnapped by unknown people.

    Special police Constable (SPC) Katende was allegedly rearrested on February 16 by unknown after being given bail along with two others in the army court in Kampala pending trial over accusations of kidnapping a former bodyguard to Rwandan President Paul Kagame in 2013 before being dubiously extradited back home and sentenced to life imprisonment.

    Mr Katende is among the nine suspects including senior police officers charged in connection with alleged kidnap of three Rwandan nationals.
    Others include; the former Commandant of Police Professional Standard Unit Mr Joel Aguma, Senior Superintendent of Police Mr Nixon Agasirwe, Assistant Superintendent of Police James Magada (Crime Intelligence), Sgt Abel Tumukunde of the Flying Squad, AIP Benon Atwebembeire and D/Cpl Amon Kwarisima, attached to the Crime Intelligence Department.
    Katende’s lawyer Lt Brian Moogion Tuesday told the General Court Martial sitting in Makindye and chaired by Lt Gen. Andrew Gutti that Mr Katende’s whereabouts is still unknown.

    Court also cancelled the suspects’ bail before remanding them back to Luzira Prison.
    This was after prosecution preferred fresh charges of unlawful possession of firearms against the suspects.

    They have declined to take plea and Lt Gen. Gutti remanded them until March 27 when they will return to court to proceed on their plea taking.

    Mr Livingstone Sewanyana, the executive director of Foundation for Human Rights Initiative, in March this year said it was high time the new IGP acted and started by disbanding the notorious criminal gangs who have been operating alongside the police.

    “For a start, he needs to deal with the question of crime preventers. I don’t think we need crime preventers. He needs to sort out the question of militias that have infiltrated the police. He needs to address that and have them disbanded. He must also disband these so called flying squads that have become torture squads,” Mr Sewanyana said on March 6.

    Some of the cases involving FSU

    • Police arrest brothers over kidnapping 4-year-old girl

      Saturday March 31 2018

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      KAMPALA. Police Flying Squad Unit (FSU) has arrested two brothers for allegedly kidnapping a four-year-old girl.
      FSU commander, Herbert Muhangi, said the brothers were arrested on Thursday over allegations of kidnapping Resty Kahunde, a daughter to Ms Beatrice Kahunde and Mr Samuel Mugenyi on March 22.
      Mr Muhangi said the girl was kidnapped by a boda-boda rider who hid her at his brother's home in Butumi village, Kiyuni Sub County in Mubende District.

      "This woman (Ms Kahunde) was referred to us by Kyenjojo police on March 24, two days after her daughter had been kidnapped. We tracked the phone calls and arrested the boda boda rider who led us to his brother’s home where he was hiding the child," Mr Muhangi said.
      Ms Kahunde said her daughter was living with her sister, Ms Annet Kalumba in Bujjuko, Mityana District. She said she got the news regarding her daughter's kidnap after her sister received information that the girl had not reached school on that day.

      "I was in Kyenjojo District when I was told about my girl's disappearance. It was at about 3pm. I later received a phone call from Yusuf Atuhirwe saying he was holding the girl because he wanted me to return the motorcycle we bought on loan," Ms Kahunde said.

      Mr Atuhirwe said he had kidnapped the girl because Ms Kahunde had broken up with him and disappeared with the motorcycle they had bought on a loan. He said the motorcycle was to be the source of income for clearing the Shs5 million loan they had acquired to buy it.
      "The loan was signed under my name and I had nowhere to get the money when she went with the motorcycle. I kidnapped the child so that she could return the motorcycle or accept to clear the remaining balance," Mr Atuhirwe says in a police statement.

      Ms Kahunde admitted that she took the motorcycle but she was planning to raise money and clear the loan balance.
      "He (Atuhirwe) was my boyfriend but we ended the relationship. I could not entertain his behaviors," she said.
      Mr Muhangi said Mr Atuhirwe was changing meeting venues every moment, an indication that he probably planned something terrible for Ms Kahunde and her daughter.
      "It was serious and we suspected his motives. He could tell her to meet him in Mubende, Kampala and Mityana. His change of meeting venues was suspicious but followed every step until we apprehended him," Mr Muhangi said.

      However, Mr Samuel Mwesige, who’s also being treated as a suspect told police that his young brother (Mr Atuhirwe) approached him with the child saying he produced her with another woman and wanted him to briefly stay with her as he figures out his next move.
      "He’s my young brother whom I never suspected of anything. I did not hesitate when he asked me to stay with the child he told me was his," Mr Mwesige said.

      Police said the duo will be arraigned in court next week after investigations are complete. Last week police released statistics showing that 16 people have been kidnapped in the last two months. Mr Muhangi warned parents against sending children to school, market or Church unescorted by an adult person.

      jkato@ug.nationmedia.com

    • How cars, boda bodas are stolen

      Thursday April 05 2018


      KAMPALA.

      Police have unearthed tricks used by thugs to unlock and steal cars parked on Kampala streets, at supermarkets, workplaces, homes and other facilities, cautioning the public to stay vigilant.
      The Force was responding to the public outcry about the alarming motor vehicle thefts in Kampala City.
      The Flying Squad Unit (FSU) 2017 report reveals several tricks, including duplication of car keys. Others are intentional or staged bumps into one’s vehicle, the use of duplicated number plates and window smashing.
      According to police, these tricks were used to steal more than 200 cars last year.
      According to the report, Toyota Premio brands were most targeted by the thugs followed by Toyota Spacio, Raum and Ipsum cars that came in second, third and fourth positions respectively.
      “Thugs are using washing bay operators. They pay them some money to duplicate car keys. They place the key on a bar of soap and afterwards duplicate it without the owner’s knowledge,” said Mr Herbert Muhangi, the FSU commandant.
      Police said some car keys are duplicated when vehicles are driven to garages for repair where some mechanics pretend to be test driving.
      Mr Muhangi explained that their investigations have revealed a clique of 20 thugs spread all over the country and have connections in neighbouring countries.
      “These thugs are the same. Once arrested in Kampala, chances are you find the same person in a similar crime in Arua, Bunagana, Mutukula, Gulu or Gatuna,” he said.

      Tricks
      He said thugs bump into unsuspecting victims intentionally, especially on highways, as a way of diverting their attention and steal their vehicles once they stop.
      “These criminals intentionally scratch your car and when you stop to check the magnitude of the damage caused, they grab and put you in their own car. One of them sits in your car and they drive off up to a secluded place where you are dumped,” Mr Muhangi said.
      Other criminals moving on boda bodas distract unsuspecting drivers by telling them that their tyre pressure is low and when they get out of the cars to inspect, their cars are driven off.
      This kind of criminality stretches to roads such as Yusuf Lule, Entebbe, Bwaise-Kawempe, Kisenyi, Nansana and Nakulabye.
      “The tricks of knocking cars and showing duplicated number plates have seen several drivers lose their vehicles to criminals. We ask drivers that in case you are knocked on the way please do not stop unless there are several other drivers or a police officer,” Mr Muhangi said.
      The report shows that 204 cars were stolen countrywide but Kampala and Arua districts registered the highest number of car theft cases.
      Police said 90 per cent of cars stolen last year ended up in DR Congo but a quarter of those stolen in the first quarter of 2018 have found their way to Kenya.
      Incidents of harming owners occur among luxurious vehicles such as TX, Land Cruiser, Fuso Fighter and Range Rovers, which are said to be highly demanded by businessmen in DR Congo, Mbarara, and Busia in Kenya.

      Harming owners
      “Thugs use guns to kidnap, kill or hurt drivers of expensive cars. In cases where guns have been used, we arrest about five or more suspects in a single case because it is a mission that has to be executed by more than one person,” Mr Muhangi said.
      Police said thugs at times knock at the co-driver’s window, especially in cars where the driver is the only occupant with an aim of diverting their attention.
      “This shifts your attention to the co-driver’s side mirror to establish what hit your car and in the process, criminals push you to the roadside where they block your car and quickly bundle you in their own car or throw you out. This trick of car theft is normally used at highways during late evening or in the early morning hours,” Mr Muhangi said.
      Mr Muhangi said intentional knocks have not only been used to steal cars but also to rob money from drivers.
      The “intentional knocks” trick was applied in the murder of Francis Ekalungar, who was an accountant at Case Hospital Accountant. Ekalungar was kidnapped and killed in January en route to the bank with Shs15m.
      Police said he was intentionally scratched by thugs at Yusuf Lule Road and was grabbed once he moved out to engage those who had knocked him.
      His body was discovered burnt beyond recognition in Kajjansi. Police and army arrested more than 11 suspects, who are currently being tried in court.
      “Sometimes these criminals target bullion vans or individual drivers, who are suspected to be carrying a lot of money on them. They knock and grab you once you stop. The money is taken and driver is dumped in a strange place or sometimes killed,” he said.

      Motorcycles
      Police said thugs have not only used those tricks to steal cars but motorcycles too.
      In the same period, 105 motorcycles were stolen and most of them were intercepted in Iganga District as they were being smuggled to Mbale and Busia districts.
      Bajaj motorcycles are mostly stolen from Kampala, Iganga and Arua.
      These motorcycles, according to police are also sold to Ugandans living at the DR Congo border.
      “We urge drivers and motorcyclists to take caution where they park and which washing bays they go to. Don’t give chance to someone to duplicate your keys,” Mr Muhangi said.
      Ending car theft is proving a major huddle since culprits have enough money to rescue their colleagues on court bail.
      “We defeated the war on thugs, who were kidnapping special hire drivers but these ones have a lot of money. Whenever a colleague is arrested, they mobilise money to stand him surety. Most of these thugs have over five court bails but they don’t care,” Mr Muhangi said.

    • Police arrest suspects over Magara murder

      Friday March 02 2018

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      Kampala. Police said they have received good clues on the killers of Susan Magara and some security sources said several suspects have been arrested over the kidnap and murder.
      However, the arrests could not be officially confirmed as police spokesman Emilian Kayima declined to confirm or deny them.

      Nevertheless, Mr Kayima told Daily Monitor that police had received “overwhelming” response from the public volunteering information about the killers, including clues about the man whose voice was heard in a recording of a communication between Susan’s father and the kidnappers. “The response has been very good. Many people have called and given us useful information on who could be the person in the recording. What I can say is that the information they are providing is crucial. We are still scrutinising it,” he said.

      On Tuesday, police announced a bounty of Shs100m to any member of the public who would volunteer information leading to identification and arrest of the killers. Mr Kayima said responses from the public have provided important leads to the investigations.
      Susan, a cashier with Bwendero Dairy Farm, was kidnapped on Kabaka Anjagala Road in Rubaga Division on February 7. The kidnappers killed her despite having demanded and obtained a ransom of about Shs700m from the family and later dumped her body at Kitiko near Entebbe Expressway in the night running into Tuesday morning.

      A source said yesterday police were holding about 11 people to help them in the investigations into Susan’s murder.
      Some of the suspects, the source said, had been on the police’s wanted list since Susan’s kidnap. The source said the police’s Flying Squad Unit (FSU) could not arrest them for fear it would jeopardise the negotiations between the family and the kidnappers, which were still going on at that time.

      abagala@ug.nationmedia.com

    • Police officer arrested over robbery, hangs self

      Monday April 16 2018

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      Kampala. A police officer was found hanging dead in jail after criminal suspects pinned him in several robberies.
      Police spokesperson Emilian Kayima identified the officer as detective James Ogwal, attached to Kabalagala Police Station, whom he said committed suicide after arrest.

      Mr Kayima told journalists at Kampala Central Police Station yesterday that many police officers are working with criminals to kill and rob boda boda riders across the country.
      Mr Kayima said Ogwal was arrested on Friday after robbery suspects revealed that they had been working with him to steal motorcycles and vehicles.
      He said Ogwal was detained at Mawanda Road Police Station but he was found hanging in the bathroom on Saturday morning.

      “Thefts of boda bodas and vehicles have continued to occur throughout the country. Unfortunately, one of the key suspects James Ogwal was found dead in police cells at Mawanda Road. He was being investigated by Kira Road Police Station,” Mr Kayima said.
      Police sources said Ogwal was detained with another suspect who was not readily identified.
      Ogwal reportedly entered the bathroom, but did not return.

      Ordeal
      His colleague became impatient and went to check only to find Ogwal’s body dangling on a metallic bar of the bathroom window, about 10 feet above the ground.
      Kayima said Ogwal hanged himself using a woven bathing pad.
      He said Ogwal had been separated from the suspects at Kabalagala Police Station who implicated him.
      Police sources said Ogwal had also been implicated in two cases of murder and robbery.

      A police source said Ogwal left behind a note bearing 13 names of other police officers he was reportedly working with in the robberies.
      However, Mr Kayima said the deceased left two messages; one in Luo and another in English cursing those who arrested him.

      “You did bad to investigate me. You have caused me problems. Let me die and leave you to look after my family,” Mr Kayima quoted Ogwal’s message on a piece of paper.
      “We have in custody several suspects in relation to these boda boda thefts. We appeal to the public especially those in boda boda industry to be careful. Report early and make follow ups,” Mr Kayima said.
      Meanwhile, police have arrested five people for kidnapping a two-year-old child in Kitezi, Wakiso District.

      Mr Kayima said the suspects were found hiding the child in their home with intent to get a ransom from the parents.
      “We have noticed cases of kidnap are on the rise and some people have turned it into a business. Some have faked their kidnap to get money from relatives. We ask public to be vigilant and be fast at reporting these cases,” he said.

      Arrest on kidnap
      Meanwhile, Old Kampala police arrested a 21-year-old woman, Mariam Uwase, at the weekend on allegations of faking her own kidnap and demanding Shs25m from her boyfriend.
      Police have warned the population to be vigilant during this rainy season because thugs are taking advantage of the downpour to break into homes.

      A latest victim is Joel Musasizi, a resident of Seguku on Entebbe Road, who was attacked and robbed at gunpoint on Saturday night.
      The thugs took way everything he had in his house and loaded it on their pick-up vehicle.

      Report on thefts

      The 2017 report by police Flying Squad Unit (FSU) showed 105 motorcycles had been stolen and Iganga, Gulu and Kampala districts topped motorcycle thefts. The FSU Commandant, Mr Herbert Muhangi, said some of the victims were hacked to death by the robbers while others survived with severe injuries.
      The report indicates that some of the motorcycles were stolen at gunpoint but 20 out of 50 guns recovered in the robberies of cars, motorcycles and mobile money had police and army engravings.

      jkato@ug.nationmedia.com

    One of the operatives told this reporter on condition of anonymity that he and his colleagues are concerned about their future deployment.

    "I don't understand how they just shut us down like that. We have been doing a good job. Where will they take us now?" the operative asked.

    The Deputy Police Spokesperson, Patrick Onyango, declined to confirm the disbandment of the unit, saying he hadn't seen any message to the effect.

    "All I have seen is that the personnel need to report to CID which is very normal," Onyango said.

    Flying Squad had just completed sieving out civilian operatives who were working as Special Police Constables.

    In 2016, all operatives were taken for a three month's refresher course after which most of them were deployed to the Field Force Police and newly recruited police officers deployed under the unit.

    Since it was created in 2001, the Police Flying Squad was dependent on ill-trained and unprofessional operatives to fight violent crime. The Flying Squad was created as an emergency response unit to high crime rates in the city and its suburbs.

    It started as a Para-military group popularly known as 'Wembley', led by Brig Elly Kayanja. It later morphed into the Violent Crime Crack Unit (VCCU), and was renamed the Rapid Response Unit (RRU). In 2012 it was christened Flying Squad Unit.

    The police leadership kept changing its name in an attempt to clean up the image of the unit but still this didn't help.

    When it was formed, police enrolled former soldiers, police informers, known criminals, serving soldiers and a few police officers. Some of these operatives have stayed while others were moved.

    Every new commander appointed to head the unit came in with a few trusted personnel. The commanders have also tended to move on with their trusted operatives once transferred from the unit.

  • Why Ochola dissolved police Flying Squad Unit

    Wednesday May 09 2018


    Kampala. A decision to disband police’s Flying Squad Unit (FSU) was taken by the Inspector General of Police, Mr Martins Okoth-Ochola, due to mounting allegations of gross misconduct and torture of suspects by its operatives, Daily Monitor has learnt.

    The decision, according to highly-placed sources, was taken without consultation with the powerful 24-member police Policy Advisory Committee (PAC) which previously discussed, and endorsed, the reversion of the dreaded Nalufenya from a holding cell for high-profile suspects to an ordinary police station.
    Assistant inspector generals of police, who directly head police directorates, sit to constitute PAC that is responsible for, among other things, determining and reviewing weekly operations, transfers and financial management.

    Proposal rejected
    One source, familiar with the changes, said Mr Ochola, while deputy IGP, had proposed that police disband the Flying Squad but the then IGP, Gen Kale Kayihura, ignored the suggestion.
    Another senior officer told this newspaper that yesterday’s disbandment underlines the new IGP’s resolve to realign many things within police he disapproved of for years, but had no power to alter.

    Other big-ticket changes - at least in name - that Mr Ochola has announced since taking charge of the Force in March, include disbanding ad hoc units that Gen Kayihura established to directly report to him, return of power to line commanders, recall of senior officers sidelined under the previous administration and realignment of police command structure.
    Besides converting Nalufenya from a detention facility associated with torture of suspects to an ordinary police station, the police chief has revived kit inspection policy to test individual police officer’s preparedness, smartness and weapons handling.

    He has also integrated police fleet under single management and renewed 999 toll-free help line for reporting emergencies to police; and, ordered a forensic audit to ascertain actual police manpower and armament.
    In yesterday’s changes, the IGP recalled FSU commander Herbert Muhangi from CID directorate to general duties department and transferred him to Human Resource directorate to head police manpower audit.
    The Special Investigations Division, now revived under the command of Elly Womanya, will coordinate anti-violent crimes operations but SSP Mark Odong will directly head Organised Crimes desk.

    Old wine in new bottle?
    Police-run violent crack crime units have had a history of grotesque human rights abuses in the country
    In the 1990s, the Anti-Robbery Unit (ARU) was established but its operatives became so brutal that the Justice Julia Sebutinde-led commission of inquiry into the Force ordered that it be reformed.
    It was collapsed into the Mobile Police Patrol Unit (MPPU), but a new surge in gun crimes prompted President Museveni to create Operation Wembley, a para-military outfit the commanded by Col Elly Kayanja, to tackle violent crimes.

    Rights groups accused Operation Wembley operatives of extra-judicial killings, torture and extortion.
    When Gen Kayihura took over as police chief in November 2005, he disbanded Operation Wembley and established Violent Crime Crack Unit (VCCU) headquartered in Kireka, outside Kampala.
    Again, rights groups complained and VCCU was transformed into the Rapid Response Unit (RRU) whose last operations commander, Mr Joel Aguma, is jointly facing trial in the military court. It was not long before gross rights breaches under RRU forced Gen Kayihura to disband it.

    Another unit collapses
    At least 36 of its officers were from 2005 to 2010 variously charged with criminal offences, including causing grievous bodily harm to suspects and robbery, according to police report. Fourteen others were tried in the police disciplinary court.
    The former RRU operatives were sent to Criminal Investigations Division (CID) and Special Investigations Division (CID) where they were redeployed.
    In 2013, FSU was established and former RRU operatives were recalled, retrained and redeployed.

    Last year, suspects in the murder of police spokesperson, Andrew Felix Kaweesi, said they had been tortured by Flying Squad while in Nalufenya cells.
    Kamwenge mayor Godfrey Byamukama, whom police secretly wheeled to Nakasero hospital with septic torture wounds, became the face of torture at Nalufenya.
    Flying Squad operatives, however, were credited for hunting suspected kidnappers, car thieves, and armed robbers. This year alone, FSU rescued 10 children and kidnapped adults.

    FSU troubles

    Flying Squad was formed to fight violent crimes such as robberies and kidnaps. Hundreds of its officers would later get ensnared in gross misconduct, risking their professions and sullying the image of police.

    By February, the Police Professional Standards Unit was investigating 213 cases against FSU personnel lodged by both civilians and police officers, including torture, robbery and extortion. Handling of the cases will continue since each was lodged against individual officers, police said.
    Former IGP Kayihura established FSU Unit in 2013 following a spate of violent crimes. Most of its operatives are informers and Special Police Constables; low-rank officers, who joined police on temporary contracts.

    editorial@ug.nationmedia.com

  • 60 former Flying Squad operatives sent home

    Wednesday June 06 2018

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    Sixty former Flying Squad police operatives have been fired from the Force following a vetting process carried out last month.
    A police source, who preferred anonymity, said the list of the sacked operatives was sent to the Inspector General of Police, Mr Martins Okoth-Ochola, for further decision on their fate.
    Majority of the operatives are special police constables who had been serving on temporary contracts.

    More than 175 former Flying Squad Unit operatives were vetted last month at the Directorate of Criminal Investigations in Kibuli, Kampala, to weed out indisciplined and incompetent personnel.
    A police source said the vetting team recommended that at least 60 of the operatives should not be redeployed in any of the other police units.
    Mr Vincent Ssekatte, the CID spokesperson, did not deny or confirm the new sacking of the operatives.

    “I have consulted the team that carried out the vetting about the recommendations, but I haven’t received any feedback from them. I can’t give you any comment right now,” Mr Ssekatte said yesterday.
    According to police sources, during the vetting, the former Flying Squad operatives were disarmed and ordered to reapply for employment in the force.

    Last month, Mr Okoth-Ochola restructured the Flying Squad and reverted its former commandant, Mr Herbert Muhangi to general duties, which is a lower responsibility.
    On Monday, the Senior Superintendent of Police, Mr Peter Kakonge, was named the new Flying Squad commander. Mr Kakonge joined police in 1980.
    Former Flying Squad operatives, who passed the vetting are likely to be redeployed.

    One of the operatives we contacted said: “Police have not talked to us since we were vetted. We are still un-deployed.”
    The Flying Squad has been on the frontline of fighting violent crimes like aggravated robberies, car thefts and kidnaps.
    They fought many armed robberies on Mobile Money shops and agents which peaked between 2012 and 2013.
    However, the unit was later accused of crime and human rights abuses.

    abagala@ug.nationmedia.com

  • 174 Flying Squad operatives bounce back

    Thursday June 14 2018

    home07pix

    Kampala.

    Police have redeployed 174 former Flying Squad Unit (FSU)operatives to the same unit after a month-long vetting process.
    On May 8, police boss Martins Okoth- Ochola ordered all the 273 Flying Squad Unit operatives to report to the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (CID) for vetting.
    At least 60 operatives were dropped by the vetting team on allegations of indiscipline.
    However, the police message issued by the director of Human Resource Management and Administration, Mr Moses Balimwoyo, yesterday was silent on the 39 operatives.
    “The following personnel formerly under Flying Squad Unit upon their successful vetting are transferred with immediate effect,” Mr Balimwoyo’s message read in part.
    Last week, Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Peter Kakonge was appointed the commandant of the FSU.
    Former FSU commander Herbert Muhangi was reverted to Human Resource Management to head manpower audit.
    He was arrested on Monday by Chieftaincy of Military Intelligence (CMI) on unknown offences.

    Appointments
    In the same message, 23 operations commanders have been appointed to oversee activities of each of the groups posted at different workstations.
    Three senior officers at the rank of Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP) have been appointed to supervise operatives at CPS, Katwe and Kawempe.
    These include Jimmy Kyambadde in charge of FSU operatives deployed at CPS, Lawrence Ayesiga who will supervise operatives at Katwe, while Madrine Namutebi will oversee activities of operatives at Kawempe.
    A total of 26 officers formerly under FSU have been reverted to the directorate of criminal investigations. These include seven ASPs, eight Inspectors, three sergeants and eight corporals.
    “The following officers are transferred to General CID under the directorate of criminal investigations,” the transfer messages adds.

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