Uganda People’s Defence Forces (UPDF) Thursday said they had arrested one of their soldiers after he was filmed brutalizing a civilian who had seemingly surrendered and pleading with him.
In a video widely circulated on the internet, the armed officer slapped and kicked several times- a yet to be identified man kneeling on the ground.
The officer’s arrest came after enraged Ugandans who had watched the video took to social media to condemn his actions while others accused the force of 'unprofessionalism.'
“These kinds of actions by UPDF against civilians highly violate Human Rights and also empower other army forces near Uganda to violate human rights,” said People's Human Rights Forum (PHRF) in a statement on twitter.
Professionalism is overrated on UPDF, he is on his knee's but still has to put his boots and slaps pic.twitter.com/tUNVQeTWnl— Nsereko Kafrika (@KafrikaNsereko) July 28, 2021
However, UPDF said it does not condone what it described as ‘‘individual barbaric acts against Wanainchi.”
“UPDF has noted with concern- a circulating video of one of our soldiers acting out of order against a civilian. The soldier has been arrested and action will be taken against him. UPDF remains a people's army,” UPDF spokesperson tweeted.
There have been numerous reports about members of the force brutalizing Ugandans.
When asked about the offence committed by the civilian and the identity of the errant soldier, defence and military spokesperson, Brig Flavia Byekwaso told Daily Monitor that ''details would be available later.''
Whereas Article 208 of the 1995 Constitution establishes the UPDF and stipulates that it shall be non-partisan, national in character, patriotic, professional, disciplined, productive and subordinate to the civilian authority; the force, according to a section of human rights activists, has often fallen short of living to its constitutional expectations.
Critics further say ‘‘gross violation of human and people-rights have been reportedly amplified by UPDF’s intervention in civil matters that should ordinarily be a preserve of the Uganda Police Force as commanded by Article 212 of the Constitution.
Early this year, a 2020 Press Freedom Index Report by Human Rights Network for Journalists Uganda (HRNJ-Uganda) ranked UPDF as second, after police, in perpetrating violence against journalists.