KAMPALA, UGANDA: The UPDF commander in charge of the anti-crime operation Lt. Col. Fred Mwesigye has ordered police to shoot and kill any suspected armed robbers following a spate of aggravated robberies in the Kampala Metropolitan area.
Col. Mwesigye made the decision during a security briefing with the district police commander, crime intelligence, and top security chiefs in the country in a meeting held in Mukono on Wednesday, June 29.
His order follows two armed robbery incidents recorded in Mukono last week, one of a Supermarket robbery by two armed thugs, while another was a house invasion attack by six armed thugs. In both incidents, the thugs made away with an unspecified amount of cash, and property including a Toyota Wish car.
However, police would later arrest two suspects behind the supermarket the robbery, and a day later, another suspect (the mastermind) was also arrested, whom police found with key evidence relating to the robbery after recovering an AK-47 rifle, pangas, knifes and other related items used for the robbery activities.
The development stirred an urest in the country and now the UPDF Commander Lt. Col. Fred Mwesigye says the strategy is going to change and that all security agencies will be authorized to shoot to kill any armed robber caught in the act.
“For us, we don’t make statements and investigations. We will shoot to kill. We shall not entertain any more tolerance and mercy for the nabbed armed robbers. I know the robbers are watching us on the news, let the message sink in. We will shoot to kill,” Mwesigye said.
He added; “When a robber comes with a gun, he is ready to kill. I reviewed the clips in which these robbers invaded the supermarket. They are not professionals as alleged. They are amateurs who could not handle the gun professionally.”
A section of Ugandans have took to social media to contest the army order on suspected robbers. Some argue that 80% of armed forces are unprofessional and will therefore misuse their trigger-happy rights
“Hell no to this order. All crimes ought to be investigated and suspects tried in courts of law. Justice has to prevail. It’s just that most govt institutions are filthy, and ain’t independent because of one man’s long stay in power,” One social media user said.
“Caution!! Effecting this means innocent lives and those of political opponents will be targeted. Just build independent institutions. Fund them, let them do their work, carry out checks and the results will come in,” another Ugandan wrote on social media.
Meanwhile, police officers have been cautioned not to release on bond the hard core criminals involved in capital offenses like aggravated robbery and murder instances.
This order is a replicate of the 2002 ‘Operation Wembley’ work method in which security personnel shot and killed suspected robbers on sight. The method once condemned by human rights activists was introduced to counter-armed robberies that were on the climb then.
Police then instructed its crack unit – Flying Squad – to deal with robbers in an effort to break the back of suspects behind organized crimes, especially in Kampala and its suburbs.
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