KAMPALA, UGANDA: At least 23 police officers sustained injuries during the bomb blast at the Central Police Station (CPS) in the Kampala central business district on Tuesday morning.
The affected police officers are from the General Duty and Field Force Unit (FFU).
They are Kairugara Joseph, Katongole Fred, Ayebale Allan, Kissa Andrew, Eyotre Peter, Akot Catherine, Wabwire Bernard, Akibua Silesian, Tongwire Eunice, Muhumure Nicholas, Ekip Isaac, Adeun Mathew, Ssebunya Mimu, Ojera Brian, Dhibaluma Denis, Osmami Stephen, and Birungi Doreen.
Others are Nasuna Juliet, Ogwal Richard, Otai John Bosco, Nakafero Fiona, Tiberamunda Robert and Watojik Patrick. The injured police officers were at the quarter guard while others were sitting on police patrols parked on both sides of CPS entrance when the bomb went off.
There are always more than 10 police officers sitting or standing around the quarter guard especially during the morning hours or late afternoon. For instance, the quarter guard checking room often has not less than five police officers registering and checking people accessing the CPS premises.
At least eight police officers majorly from the FFU always sit on the police patrol van parked at the entrance of the quarter guard. Five police witnesses who spoke to URN said that there were at least eight police officers on each of the two patrol vans at the time of the explosion.
If at all, the eyewitnesses’ accounts are true, it means the two patrols were filled to capacity while the registration and checking room had five officers, bringing to 23, the number of police officers at the scene. An Inspector of Police (IP) who had just moved out of CPS to escort his son to Centenary Bank, said the patrol teams were preparing for field operations.
“We usually have field operations between 10am and midday. These patrols park outside loaded with FFU personnel going for field operations. It is clear that the suicide bomber knew the time when our officers are at the quarter guard and he came very sure his action would have a huge impact,” the IP said.
Besides, police officers inside the checkroom and those on patrols, many security officers including military, civilians, journalists, and informants take rest under the tree shade adjacent to the quarter guard.
“I was sitting with some of the injured officers under the tree at the quarter guard. My commander called me inside and ordered me to move out and help my colleagues on the roads. I had just reached the Bank of Uganda and a huge explosion happened. This is not a coincidence. These people knew that they would kill or injure many of us,” a traffic police officer said.
It is very rare to find no police officers, informants or journalists sitting under the trees at CPS from morning to evening. Although CPS had taken a step to prevent the crowding of vehicles around its vicinity, some cars could still be parked inside the ring-fenced area.