Security forces have come out to defend themselves on public allegations that they intentionally shoot and kill suspects during their arrest.
The dust rose on Thursday when security forces shot and killed Sheikh Abbas Kirevu, a suspected member of the terrorist cell that detonated bombs in Kampala on Tuesday killing four and injuring scores.
Several members of the public including former Presidential candidate Robert Kyagulanyi – Bobi Wine came out to criticize the killings which they referred to as extra judicial.
They criticized the security forces for using excessive force instead of arresting them and getting useful information from them.
“The continuing extra-judicial killings of Ugandans (especially Muslims) under the pretext that they are terror suspects must be condemned. Sheikh Muhammad Abbas Kirevu joins a long list of those executed. His child confirmed he was handcuffed upon arrest, but they went on to shoot him,” Bobi Wine said.
“For years, many have been killed and others violently arrested. Those detained are usually subjected to grave torture, and long periods of imprisonment without trial. Most times, they’re acquitted by courts for lack of evidence. Sadly, no one is held accountable for these crimes!” he added.
But while addressing journalists on Thursday, Police spokesperson Fred Enanga said that the suspects are shot because they attack security personnel during their arrests or they resist arrest.
“In the way they have been radicalized they try to disarm officers. They are dangerous suspects and the operations are life threatening situations. These people are not ordinary suspects but highly trained and radicalized that on arrest, they cannot accept to be taken but fight security,”Enanga said.
“It is not that our teams want to be careless about their lives. We follow them but those who try to escape or fight our teams are disabled and sometimes they succumb to injuries.”
At least five suspected terrorists have been shot and killed in a space of less than five months.
In July, two suspects connected to the attempted murder of former Chief of Defence Forces Gen Edward Katumba Wamala were shot dead by security forces during the process of their arrest.
In October, another suspected terrorist was shot and killed in Kyabando, a Kampala suburb on suspicion that he was among the individuals who allegedly planned to denotate a bomb during the burial of Lt Gen Paul Lokech in Pader.
On Tuesday, security revealed that another suspected suicide bomber was shot and later succumbed to wounds.
The latest was the killing of Sheikh Kirevu which angered the public causing an outburst on Social Media and other media channels.
Despite the Police’s explanation that the suspects always attack officers and resist arrest, Bobi Wine says this is an excuse they use to get away with their extra-judicial killings.
“Every time they murder someone, security agencies will claim the person was violent towards them. But as we know, so many Ugandans (including me) have been framed with bogus, untrue claims by the regime. There must be due process of law,” he said.