UPDF leadership has directed that its soldiers should not be misused and that where this will be found to happen, they will promptly be withdrawn.
KAMPALA - The Uganda People's Defence Forces (UPDF) has threatened to withdraw military guards that it had deployed to protect politicians, citing their alleged misuse.
According to the army spokesperson, Brig. Flavia Byekwaso, many political contenders, especially members of parliament across the political divide, who were given armed escorts in the wake of armed criminality last year, have started misusing them.
"This is contrary to the reason they were assigned and is likely to involve them in compromising, yet unnecessary and avoidable violence between the contending political groups," Byekwaso said in a statement Tuesday.
For this reason, Byekwaso said the UPDF leadership has directed that its soldiers should not be misused and that where this will be found to happen, they will promptly be withdrawn.
"The contenders for political office should not involve and/or misuse these soldiers and policemen, who were assigned purely for a different and clear purpose of ensuring the personal security of the Members of parliament," she noted.
The warning, Byekwaso pointed out, also goes to those contesting for other political offices, but are armed or have armed escorts.
Several politicians, especially MPs who feared for their lives, had been given military guards following the rise in cases of assassination of public figures in the country. Some of them had been issued with assassination threats.
Since 2012, a number of public figures have been assassinated in different parts of the country, and all in a similar fashion - by men riding on boda bodas.
At least 13 Muslim clerics were killed between 2012 and 2016 by assailants riding on boda bodas after a list of their names was released by unknown people. The attacks on the clerics occurred in Kampala, Wakiso, Lwengo and Mbale districts.
Besides the Muslim clerics, senior principal state attorney Joan Kagezi, former police spokesperson, Felix Kaweesi, former Arua Municipality MP, Col. (rtd) Ibrahim Abiriga, and former Buyende district police commander, Muhammad Kirumira, were also gunned down after being issued with threats on their lives.
Like the Muslim clerics, Kagezi, Kaweesi, Abiriga and Kirumira were killed in a similar manner.