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UPDF soldiers raid police station, rescue colleagues detained for staging illegal roadblocks 

Several cases of illegal roadblocks, which started about 10 years ago in Kampala City, districts of Wakiso, Mityana and Greater Luweero, have been reported to be on the increase of late. PHOTO/ FILE

What you need to know:

  • At least eight armed soldiers stormed a police station and overwhelmed a bevy of police officers and rescued their colleagues that had been arrested while staging an illegal roadblock.

There was pandemonium at Lumuli Police Station in Ndejje Parish, Wakiso District, after heavily armed soldiers raided the facility and rescued their colleagues that had been arrested while staging an illegal roadblock in the same area.
At least eight armed soldiers in a Toyota Land Cruiser stormed a police station and overwhelmed a bevy of police officers that also included a senior officer at the rank of Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP).
According to a police source, who asked not to be named to speak freely, the police officers respected the soldiers’ orders to save their lives. Kampala Metropolitan Police deputy spokesperson Luke Owoyesigyire corroborated the account, saying the soldiers picked their colleagues from the police cell and drove off.

“We are investigating the aggravated robbery and also aiding suspects to escape from lawful custody,” ASP Luke Owoyesigyire said yesterday.
The two suspects had been arrested near the same area after motorists called the police to report an armed criminal gang dressed in military uniform that had staged an illegal roadblock and was robbing unsuspecting motorists and pedestrians at around 9pm.

The police dispatched a patrol car with five police officers to the scene. Fortunately, they found the suspects still robbing motorists. 
A police source told this newspaper that when the armed robbers saw police officers, they fired several bullets in the air.
“Our police officers were so brave. They went on the offensive and marked their targets very well. The suspects being trained militants, they read the situation and saw death around them,” a police source said.
The source said the suspects surrendered and were arrested before being taken to Lumuli Police Station where they were detained.

Moments after the police officers had extracted the suspects’ identities as Uganda People’s Defence Forces (UPDF) soldiers and detained them for further management, an SUV carrying more than eight heavily armed soldiers raided the police station, as per the source.
The source added that the soldiers demanded that the police hand over the suspects to them for further management. We understand the police leaders declined.
“It was at that time that the armed soldiers used force to silence everyone at the station and then picked their colleagues and drove off,” the source revealed.
The group that aided the escape later drove to Mutungo Police and reported a case, claiming that the suspects in question were injured and needed to be given first aid. However, they did not disclose to police the health facility the suspects were being taken to.

Not the first time
This is one of the latest incidents where soldiers raid police facilities and take over officers’ duties.
The incident has caused disquiet among the police, with the Force’s top brass believed to have called their comrades in the army to help out.
Brig Gen Felix Kulayigye, the army spokesperson, confirmed the incident and added that three of their soldiers have been arrested over what he described as an indiscipline case. He added that the armed forces don’t tolerate indiscipline.

“The soldiers have been arrested,” Brig Gen Kulayigye said, adding that they will be arraigned in court on charges of indiscipline.
One of the trio was among those arrested in the robbery while the rest were arrested for aiding the escape of suspects.
Brig Gen Kulayigye said the suspect in the robbery incident would be handled by Police while the two others will be charged in the military court.
“We condemn it, and definitely the suspects are going to be arraigned in court martial,” he said.

What they say...

Mr Matthias Mpuuga, Leader of Opposition in Parliament
The official state crumbled a long time ago, the state is controlled by mafias and they are the ones that control it. They are the same people robbing people, riding in the infamous drones arresting and kidnapping people, raiding police stations and they say it is the ADF. That is why the people should keep guard of them.

Col Deo Akiiki, the Deputy UPDF spokesperson . 
The soldiers involved are guards of a senior citizen I wouldn’t mention now and investigations are under way to establish what happened. If it was an alleged «rescue» of a criminal, it is definitely wrong and we shall cooperate with our counterparts in Police to have those involved dealt with in accordance with the law. 

*Additional reporting by Priscilla Maloba*