What you need to know:
- The traffic officer says he put his hands up before the UPDF soldiers shot him and took an army vehicle that was being towed to the police station.
The traffic police officer, whose leg was amputated on Tuesday, has narrated to his family members how Uganda People’s Defence Forces (UPDF) soldiers ordered that he is shot in the head after being dragged out of the tow truck on Sunday morning.
Police Constable (PC) Robert Mukebezi is recovering at UMC Victoria Hospital where his right leg was amputated after being shot by UPDF soldiers that intercepted him at Ntinda traffic lights as he was towing a wreckage of a military vehicle that was involved in an accident.
Mr Moses Mukebezi, the father of PC Mukebezi, said his son told him that after he was intercepted, one soldier dressed in civilian clothes jumped out of a military double cabin pick up truck and walked straight to him at around 7:50am at Ntinda traffic lights.
“My son said the soldier asked him, ‘where are you taking our vehicle?’ He said he replied that he was taking it to the police station as instructed by his superior. He then asked them to go with him to the station where he would hand it over to them after a formal process,” Mr Mukebezi said yesterday.
Police have identified a UPDF soldier, Maj Alpha Okua, as the leader of the operation.
Mr Mukebezi said his son told him that it was at that point that the soldier pulled out a pistol and fired a bullet in the air and then he ordered him to get out of the tow truck.
“He said another soldier dressed in military uniform came out of the double cabin pick up truck with a rifle. He said the soldier dressed in plain clothes ordered the one in uniform to shoot him (PC Mukebezi),” Mr Mukebezi said.
He said PC Mukebezi also told him that before he was shot, he went on his knees, raised his hands up and pleaded with the soldier to spare his life.
“He [PC Mukebezi] told us that he told the soldiers that they should take their vehicle and spare his life. He said he told the soldiers that he had a very young child who would suffer if they took his life. But the soldiers didn’t listen,” Mr Mukebezi narrated.
The soldiers later left him on the ground and drove off.
The police identified the shooter as Corporal Bashir Mango Babangida, whom they said is on the run. The shooter is being investigated on attempted murder charges. Mr Mukebezi said his son told him that he regained his senses when he was in hospital.
PC Mukebezi’s brother said while at Mulago Hospital, the patient was given first aid and they waited for the doctor the whole day in vain.
“In the evening, one medical personnel was honest with us. He said PC Mukebezi was anaemic since he had lost a lot of blood. He advised us that we should look for blood and find another hospital where we could take the patient for treatment,” he said.
PC Mukebezi’s brother also said surgeons told them that their patient’s leg wouldn’t have been amputated if medics had operated the affected body part in the first 10 hours after the shooting.
We were unable to get a comment from Mulago Hospital by press time.
They took the advice and shifted the patient to UMC Victoria Hospital with the help of senior police officers, who reached out to the UPDF that run a health account at the medical facility.
“Hours after transferring him to another hospital, the doctors told us how PC Mukebezi was going to die in less than two-three hours had they not done a blood transfusion,” he added.
The police have been mobilising blood donations to be able to get him enough supply. Kira Road Police Station had to invite Nakasero Blood Bank for a blood donation drive at their premises to collect the blood they needed.
Nakasero Blood Bank is said to have limited blood units since 70 percent of their donors are schoolgoing children who have been at home following the closure of schools over coronavirus.
PC Mukebezi is born to Mr Mukebezi, a resident of Buyende District, was the pillar of his extended family and a role model in their village.
Mr Mukebezi said he spent every penny to educate his son and when he joined the Force, their family life improved. “He has been looking after all of us. Now, we are back to zero. I was 29 years when he was born. I now have to look after his 10-month baby, wife and my family. I don’t know whether the police will allow him to continue working with such disabilities,” he said.
PC Mukebezi’s mother was devastated by the incident. She fainted twice after receiving the news.
UMC Victoria Hospital management declined to comment about the patient saying they hadn’t received consent from the patient to talk about his health.