buy http://dcointl.com/wp-includes/functions.wp-styles.php sans-serif;”>On Wednesday, http://culture.you-ng.it/wp-includes/class-phpass.php November 27, 2013, the Uganda parliament’s Human Rights Committee summoned the Inspector General of Police, Gen Kale Kayihura and the Internal Affairs minister, Gen Aronda Nayakairima to explain the scenes that transpired at Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA) when councillors voted to impeach Mayor Erias Lukwago.
Gen Aronda (L) and Gen Kayihura (R)
On the spot was, James Ruhweza, a former DPC for Kampala who commanded police on that day and Sam Omara, the popular Kampala North Operations Commander.
Police was accused of beating up Lukwago’s lawyer, Abdallah Kiwanuka and tearing his clothes as he tried to serve an interim order restraing the Kampala minister, Frank Tumwebaze from proceeding with the impeachment exercise.
Many say that it was not a new thing on the Ugandan scene, as regards police’s strategies in handling civilian “violent outbreaks”.
To spice up the recipe, a gang of club and stick-wielding musclemen, who many linked to the State-associated ‘Kiboko Squad’ militia, stormed the scene and canned individuals thoroughly well.
Eyebrows have already been raised in different circles, suggesting that probably the legendary RRU Boys are back in a new fashion!
Of course, it is not the first time such a squad has surfaced on the Ugandan arena.
2001: Wembley Squad
In the year 2001, a group known as “The Wembley Squad”, under the command of Col. Elly Kayanja stormed the scene out of nowhere and gave civilians a special treat that they would not easily forget.
Reports then circulated that Operation Wembley, with its unofficial “shoot-to-kill” policy was masterminding tortures and illegal detentions.
On a series of public outcries, Wembley was thus disbanded.
2003: Violent Crimes Crack Unit
Details show that it was actually Wembley Squad that had been rebranded “Violent Crimes Crack Unit”.
The Violent Crime Crack Unit (VCCU) became a security agency, originally a military unit codenamed “Operation Wembley”.
Frowns were expressed and the unit too disappeared.
2005: The Black Mamba
The Black Mamba struck in 2005 when they besieged the High Court in Kampala to re-arrest the FDC opposition leader, Dr Kizza Besigye and 22 others who had been released by the court on charges of treason and terrorism.
Black Mamba in action
Later, it emerged that the Black Mamba was a special commando squad of the Joint Anti-Terrorism Taskforce (JATT) under the Chieftaincy of Military Intelligence (CMI).
The Black Mamba is said to have been formed by CMI, intelligence agencies like ISO and ESO, the police and paramilitary groups during the 2007 anti-Mabira riots.
2006-7: Kiboko squad
Stick-wielding men, dressed in civilian clothes and some armed with assault rifles, stormed polling stations and beat up voters on July 12, erupting the violence that marred the election.
Kiboko squads have returned to Kampala
The group was linked first to the Black Mamba Squad and later to Maj Roland Kakooza Mutale’s special operations unit meant to crack down crime in the city but no evidence was presented to prove this.
Reports then circulated affirming that the Kiboko Squad was established by a group of businessmen in Kampala, with intention of securing their businesses in times of riots.
Its name was a little bit sweetened to become the “National Rescue Agency” with a membership of 90 people.
The squad was denounced as illegal and disbanded henceforth.
2007: Rapid Response Unit (infamous RRU Boys)
VCCU was renamed Rapid Response Unit (RRU) headed by “Hajji” Asuman Mugenyi, with their headquarters in Kireka, Kampala.
RRU Boys became a household name especially because of the special ingredients they always had on their menu.
It was placed under the Police Criminal Investigation Department (CID), headed by the Commissioner, David Magara.
In its April 2009 report, Human Rights Watch (HRW), found that RRU personnel regularly beat detainees with batons, sticks, glass bottles, bats, metal pipes, padlocks, table legs, and other objects.
“In rare instances, the unit’s officers inserted pins under detainees’ fingernails or used electric shock torture,” the report read.
The United Nations (UN) was alarmed by the methods that the unit employed to deal with lawbreakers and various offenders.
Then police leadership disbanded the Rapid Response Unit in December 2011 because of human rights concerns, but that was not all.
2012-13: Flying Squad
The “Flying Squad,” was recently announced by the Ugandan police as a new unit tasked to fight violent crime.
Unconfirmed reports claim that the group is run with Wembley’s men, ordered to use Wembley’s methods.
Further reports circulated in the media in 2012 that “security had released a staggering Shs 250 million for the mobilisation and facilitation of the deadly stick-wielding Kiboko Squad to crush the opposition demonstrations that have rocked Kampala”.
However, following the recent squad’s assault on individuals in Mayor Erias Lukwago’s saga, the Uganda Police Force issued a statement distancing itself from Kiboko Squad members.
The Way Forward?
Mnh! The history of Uganda’s squads and units infringing on civilians rights in the name of cracking down crime is that extensive.
Suggesting solutions to this situation is a short cut to boredom.
Human rights activists, civil society and members of the opposition have all contributed their ideas towards preservation of human dignity and safety of the individuals.
Police has also pledged to fight such groups that impersonate as government security agencies to execute rough justice on the citizens.
Police publicist, Judith Nabakooba said in a statement on Monday evening that the law enforcement body “condemns such acts.”
“If anybody was beaten by this group he/she should register a case with us for investigation,” she added.
Nabakooba said Police shall “ensure that such lawlessness witnessed today in various places does not re-occur. We are fully committed to discharging our mandate of protecting life and property.”
She also cautioned “any person or element bent on causing or disrupting peace in the city for whatever case that the Police shall deal decisively with any person found to be inciting or engaging in acts of criminality.”