An upsurge in attacks on police stations and military barracks has forced the police to introduce stringent security measures around its premises.
However, despite public speculation about the nature and motive of the attackers, the police has ruled out terrorism or armed rebellion. Fred Enanga, the police spokesman, said on Monday that the attackers were targeting individual police officers, although their reasons remained unknown.
“Like in Mubende police barracks, the map which was abandoned by the attackers indicated that they knew the barracks and where the armoury is but they never went there to [steal] guns. They instead attacked specific police officers,” he said.
Last week, armed men attacked the residences of Mubende District Police Commander Enock Abaine and the officer-in-charge of operations, Dan Ampadde. Neither officer was hurt, as the attackers were repulsed by guards. These, Enanga said, could not have been rebels or terrorists.
“But investigations reveal the attackers had personal issues with a motive of killing the officers,” he said.
Enanga said the attackers first called Abaine on phone at night asking him to go out for an emergency rescue [operation].
“When [Abaine] called back to ask for specific details of the place, he heard the phone of the attackers ringing outside his door and then the thugs started shooting at the door,” Enanga narrated.
He said rebels or terrorists could not attack a big police station like Mubende, which is tightly guarded. In the case of the assault on a police officer in Nsambya barracks, Enanga explained, the assailant slept in the officer’s house and attacked him late in the night.
In the wake of these attacks, police have tightened security in and around barracks and police stations. Any person above 18 years who is not related to a police officer will not be allowed to live in the barracks.
“We have started the exercise of screening people who shouldn’t belong there to get out. And those who refuse will be arrested and charged with criminal trespass,” deputy Police Spokesperson Polly Namaye said on Monday.
The police has also stopped officers from renting out barracks houses to civilians.
“Some officers, who have been transferred had been renting out police houses to civilians, pretending that they are relatives. All these people are going to be chased out of the barracks and be replaced by police officers,” Namaye said.
The barracks will also be fenced by perimeter walls.
“The IGP has ordered all Regional Police Commanders (RPCs), District Police Commanders (DPCs) and OC stations to ensure that security measures are put in places so that the barracks are secure,”
The Mubende attack is the fourth in less than a month on police stations. Two weeks ago, a known street kid, Bright Mukama, who was released from jail on charges of robbery entered Nsambya Police barracks and fatally stabbed Police Constable Cyprian Mukama, 28.
Last month, a security operative attached to Namirembe Church police post, Hajji Abdul Ssebaggala, was shot dead by unidentified assailants near his home in Kikandwa zone, Lungujja.
Last month another Police officer, Corporal Julius Owori, attached to Namayingo police post, was also attacked at home and shot dead. Within the past year, police officers have also been murdered in Kajjansi (Joseph Bigirwa), Mulago (Charles Byarugaba), and Masaka (Mohammad Meera).
Source : The Observer