By Joyce Namutebi and Moses Mulondo
The Government is considering more stringent gun control measures, defence minister Dr. Crispus Kiyonga has said.
He was giving a statement to Parliament on the recent attack on Mbuya Barracks and the recent shooting in Bombo town council.
“While we must ensure that soldiers remain vigilant at all times to guard the country, we are taking appropriate steps to ensure that there is a balance between vigilance and more strict application of disciplinary measures and gun control,” Kiyonga said.
He said each security agency has been urged to review discipline and control measures.
Kiyonga also gave an assurance that there is no rebel activity in the country.
Reacting to the statement, Dr. Francis Epetait (Ngora MP) said desertion of the army is an offence and wondered how a deserter could co-operate with officers of UPDF.
MPs suggested that army and Police officers should be tested for drug abuse. They also urged the Government to improve their terms and conditions of service as well as welfare. The legislators further proposed that there should be counselling programmes for soldiers when they return from deployment. They also urged the Government to work on a policy regarding retirement in the army.
Kiyonga explained circumstances surrounding the March 8 incident in which 10 people were shot and killed by Pte. Patrick Okot Odoch in Bombo town. Two others were also injured. Okot, the minister said, is on the run and efforts to arrest him are being made. He also informed Parliament that two soldiers and six civilians have been apprehended in connection with the March 4 Mbuya Barracks incident in which one person died.
Investigations, Kiyonga said, point to Lt. Augustine Moro, who had deserted the army some time back.
“Lt. Moro peddled a story that there was a rebel group planning to make attacks within Kampala. He requested for money from some officers so that he could infiltrate and lead to the arrest of the people involved,” the minister said.
He said in order to cover his lie, Moro organised a group of people to launch an attack on Mbuya.