By Umaru Kashaka
KAMPALA - The Democratic Party (DP), has backed the Police on its recent invoked policy to shoot on sight armed robbers terrorizing residents of Kampala and other parts of the country.
Addressing a weekly press conference in Kampala on Tuesday, DP president Nobert Mao said Kampala has recently witnessed a spate of attacks by armed robbers targeting mainly business persons and many innocent people had lost their lives at the hands of the armed gangs.
“We as DP support Police to eliminate these gangs from our society because it’s mandated by law to do that [shoot].
"I am speaking out of experience as a former chairperson of Gulu municipality, which used to be a safe haven for armed gangs until the police invoked this policy,” Mao said.
He, however, cautioned Police that the same law requires that the force used should be reasonable, necessary and proportionate to the threat.
“The police should ensure that the trigger-happy police officers don’t abuse this policy by even killing innocent people,” he added.
The deputy Police spokesperson, Patrick Onyango, recently said that the order was already being enforced.
He underlined that officers deployed to handle operations that are likely to require the use of firearms against the suspected criminals are well-versed with the law.
“The order is being enforced and we are not out to just kill suspected criminals," said Onyango.
And he went on: "The law allows us to gather intelligence about, for example, a planned robbery and if the robbers have weapons, we fire warning shots and order them to put down their arms [weapons] and surrender. But if they fire at us we respond with fire."
The shoot-to-kill policy has drawn criticism from human rights bodies and parliament.
Its opponents are calling it unconstitutional and that there is a possibility of it being abused, in light of the escalating violent crimes in which some police officers have been killed.