M7 ORDERS POLICE CHIEF OCHOLA ON GUN USE MANUAL FOLLOWING VIOLENT NRM PRIMARIES
By Mulengera Reporter
President Yoweri Museveni has given Inspector General of Police (IGP) Martins Okoth Ochola up to October 15 to have drafted and disseminated a manual detailing procedure for use of guns by police and Local Defence Unit (LDU) personnel, and crowd management measures as provided for in the Public Order Management Act.
The Commander in Chief has written to IGP Ochola directing him to ensure that there is no repeat of random shootings, as was the case in recently held National Resistance Movement (NRM) primary elections where some people were shot dead. Museveni cited Isingiro, Katakwi and Bugiri where people lost their lives due to shootings during the party primaries. Museveni argues that that police and LDUs shot at people is proof that Ochola and his team have failed to remind them on how and when to use guns, and how to disperse crowds.
For example, Museveni wondered why police and LDUs in Katakwi had shot at civilians who were fighting among themselves during the elections, instead of scaring them away by shooting in the air or simply arresting them. For Bugiri, Museveni noted that the fact that community members had stoned armed personnel was sad, but added that shooting to kill should not have been the first option, rather police and LDUs should have identified those who pelted stones at them, and arrested them for prosecution in courts of law, in accordance with the laws of the land.
The President also reminded the IGP of the importance of command during operations, saying individual security officers should not just shoot without clear instructions from commanders. Even before shooting, Museveni continued, there should be a proclamation by using handheld micro-phones to warn them to disperse, inform them of your intention to use forceful means. The man from Rwakitura further instructed his police chief to tell his officers to use non- lethal means like tear gas, or using shields, fire live bullets in the air, and “only fire to disable if the rioters are charging forward unstoppably and endangering the lives of the security personnel.” Museveni now wants Ochola to give a copy of gun use procedures to each police post “and all the police personnel and LDUs attached to policing areas individually must be conversant to the last letter of these procedures.”
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