Army takes private guard managers for retraining

Two private security guards Robert Ejumu and Moses Okedi attached to Saracen (U) Ltd being led from the house where their colleague was shot and killed following an argument on May 17, 2023. PHOTO/ JOSEPH OMOLLO

What you need to know:

  • The training comes at the time when crime among private security guards is high. At least four guards have either been killed and committed suicide in just three months.

The military has taken the directors and top managers of the private security firms to a security facility in Entebbe, Wakiso District, for retraining following a spate of gun violence by and against guards.

According to a security source, all directors and managing directors of the private security firms were supposed to attend the training geared at curbing the indiscipline and crime in their sector. At least 100 directors and managers are attending the training.

The source said the training is being conducted by the Internal Security Organisation for a month.

The training comes at the time when crime among private security guards is high. At least four guards have either been killed and committed suicide in just three months.

Nearly a dozen others have been accused of participating in a range of criminal activities.

The chairperson of the Uganda Private Security Association, Mr Grace Matsiko, confirmed that their members are undergoing training, but denied that it was organised in regard to the gun violence that has rocked the country.

“The training of all directors and senior managers of the private security firms was planned long ago, but because of constraints of resources and the emergency of Covid-19, it didn’t take place. It has been held because the resources are now available,” Mr Matsiko said yesterday.

He added that when they did an assessment of the sector, they found out that there was a need to equip the directors and managers of the private security firms with skills on effective management of their companies, weapon handling, and the welfare of their workers.

“In a bid to enhance the professionalism of the sector in line with the government objective of protecting lives and property, it was found necessary to have this training because our firms play a strategic role in the national security and the country’s development,” he said.

Security firms

According to police statistics, the number of private security firms in the country has risen to more than 100 while their guards are more than 120,000. The number of guards is double the personnel strength of the police, which is 54,000.

Some of the guards end up in foreign countries, especially in the Middle East, but when they return, they aren’t given enough training to settle in the communities and in local private security firms.

The welfare of private security guards is a great issue and several police reports attributed the indiscipline to it. Most of the guards earn less than Shs200,000 per month, an amount that makes it difficult to live within their incomes.

According to the 2022 police crime report, of the 383 criminal cases committed by security personnel, private security guards contributed to 248 offenses. Eight of those offenses were murder cases committed by guards.

Latest shootings

Last Wednesday, John Okudi, 27, a guard attached to Saracen (U) Ltd was allegedly shot by his colleague, Moses Okedi, following a disagreement in senior quarters in Amagoro Central Ward in Tororo Municipality.

On May 13, 2023, John Mujumbi, 25, a guard attached to Capital Guards and Patrol was shot allegedly dead by his colleague Peter Ochoroi after an argument in their rented home in Konge, Makindye Division, Kampala City.

Christian Itangishaka, 30, was shot by a private security guard, Mathias Muhoozi, attached to Blue Water Services, after a petty disagreement in February this year. Muhoozi disappeared from the scene but later handed himself to the police, which are investigating him on allegations of murder.

In the same month, a private security guard, Huron Otim, picked up a fight with Moses Mubangizi, a UPDF soldier in a bar in Katwe, a city suburb.  Otim later went to his house and picked up a rifle and shot him dead. A mob descended on Otim and beat him to death.