COVID-19 | CURFEW
KAMPALA - The security agencies have appealed to Ugandans to abide by the 14-day 7 pm curfew that President Yoweri Museveni set across the country to curb the spread of COVID-19.
Speaking during the screening process of over 60 suspects who had been arrested in an Inter-Agency Joint Task Force security operation on Wednesday night, Uganda People's Defence Forces (UPDF) Spokesperson, Brig Richard Karemire noted that the forces will always act very firmly and humanely to ensure the curfew is observed.
"These are the people that invite strong actions from security forces. The rules, guidance, and directives are very clear. But we get very disappointed that up to this point, there are Ugandan who are taking the matter very casually. This COVID-19 causes an existential threat to all of us. We must collectively work together to ensure we stop it. To the people who have refused to listen, such are the actions that will be taken by security forces," Karemire noted while speaking to the media about the suspects who had been arrested in Mbuya and Bugolobi area.
Among those arrested included night guards who were caught reporting to work at around 8 pm and women who were returning from Nakawa market.
Michael Musani Sabila, the Regional Police Commander Kampala Metropolitan East noted that they had arrested several suspects who had defied the curfew but screened them before setting some free.
"We have arrested 60 people here with a number of motorcycles and we are ready to implement the directives of the President. When we intercepted these people, we realized that many of them are private guards and some few who had cases of sick people. We have screened them and identified the sick, those who had gone to rescue the sick one and we are letting them go," Sabila said.
He noted that they would also allow security guards to go but cautioned them to ensure they keep time and use company cars that had stickers.
However, residents in areas like Nakulabye, Kikoni, Kawempe Tula, and Kasokoso openly defied the curfew and proceeded on with business.
In Kikoni and Nakulabye, shops were still open and several shops played out loud music as late as 9 pm in the night.
"I have to look for money to provide for my family. I have not yet received food the government promised and this is why I am out here still working," Isma Kintu one of the residents who fries Chapati in Kikoni said.
Kawempe Division Police Commander Denis Odoch also noted that even though they were enforcing the curfew, there were areas within Kawempe like Kisowera and Kimombasa that had proved a headache.
"The locals there lock themselves in the houses and prefer drinking from inside," Odoch stated.
A drive through the city at night also revealed that several motorbikes were still carrying passengers without lights as late as 3 am especially those who were ferrying staff to meatpackers and Nakesero market.
Several roadblocks in the city had also been abandoned at night. Deputy Army and Defence Spokesperson Lt. Col. Deo Akiiki noted that they would intensify night operations to ensure the curfew directive was enforced.
However, some of the security officers who spoke to the New Vision noted that some of the residents were taking advantage of the directive by President Museveni last week barring law enforcers, especially the local defence units, against assaulting and beating people they found out during curfew hours.
He issued the directive after it emerged that some security personnel were pulling out people from their residents and torturing them.
Several security personnel who participated in torture during curfew have since been arrested and arraigned in court.
The President urged the public to report erring security officials and law enforcers to Lt Col Nakalema, on the toll-free number: 0800202500 and 0778202500 for WhatsApp.