Some reformed ex-criminals and suspects in some of the pending cases have told the Kampala Metropolitan Police Commander Senior Commissioner of Police –SCP Stephen Tanui that they get army and police uniforms from security personnel.
Tanui held a meeting at police headquarters with informants who also disguise as leaders of gangs in suburbs commonly known as Ghetto Youths to pass on the message that security was planning to launch a crackdown on all people illegally wearing security like uniforms.
But those that showed or were brought by already reformed criminals now serving as security informants said they have many attires that resemble military or police issue, which they got from security officers. Others said they bought them from ordinary markets like Owino.
Umar Mayinja, one of the youths who appeared with a military jacket said he liked his attire as it would make him special among peers. But he willingly handed over his jacket to Tanui and promised to convince his peers to hand over all the security attires to nearby police stations.
Tanui, gave a 14 days ultimatum to whoever is having clothes resembling police or military uniform to hand them to police, after which whoever will be found with them will be arrested and prosecuted.
“You know these clothes that resemble Army and Police attire, some people tend to put on them in the night,” Tanui said. “Those who have been erecting roadblocks in Wakiso, in areas like Kyengera, people have been complaining that they put on security uniforms.”
But Tanui admitted that there some of their colleagues who have since died but their relatives have never handed back uniforms to the forces they served in. Police said in the operations will not spare even relatives of soldiers or police officers who died provided they don’t hand over such uniforms to the police within the 14 days.
“We know some of our colleagues who have died and the uniforms are not collected. The relatives did not hand over those uniforms and many fear that investigations will start with them,” Tanui emphasized. “If you know anyone with a uniform that resembles that of security forceas, please tell them to bring the uniforms to us. After 14 days, we shall launch a very serious operation against such individuals.”
Ivan Nyombi, one of the self-styled Ghetto leader said they are more than ready to help security to collect all camouflage gears in the hands of civilians. Nyombi said many of their peers have military and police-like attires but they cannot tell where and how they acquired them.
“You see a person like this one having this Army jacket but you cannot tell where he got it,” Nyombi said. “If you ask him anything regarding military training, you can even beat him to death because he doesn’t know. However, he has the army jacket. But we are going to work with police to ensure these attires are collected from civilians.”
Operations against security wear is part of the security masterplan for Christmas and other festivities. Security meetings that have been sitting at Naguru police headquarters and Kampala CPS have resolved to conduct intensified operations against criminals in order to have peaceful festivities.
Already, the Inspector General of Police, Martin Ochola and his counterparts have directed all territorial commanders to respond to armed attacks with befitting fire. The top security echelons indicated that the time for tolerating shootings and killings was long gone and it is now fire for fire.