Uganda Election: Rapid Response Force Formed Ahead of Presidential Nominations

Ugandan security forces have formed rapid response squads to secure presidential candidates during the two-day nomination exercise starting tomorrow, Monday.

“In our security master plan, we have developed a multi-agency tactical response; before, during and after the nominations, which involves a mix of highly visible and non-visible resources, deployed in and around the venue, to detect, deter and disrupt any range of criminal activity,” said Police boss Okot Ochola this Sunday.

“In addition, we have specialist teams at selected locations, others patrolling in rapid reaction formations, CCTV monitoring teams, dedicated K9 teams, crowd dispersal teams, to counter all forms of illegal activities and violent demonstrations, that could compromise public safety and public security,” he added.

The nomination exercise will be held at the cricket grounds, Kyambogo, a Kampala suburb.

So far, 10 Presidential Aspirants are expected to participate in the nomination exercise.

ChimpReports understands the joint force comprises special operations forces, military intelligence personnel, anti-terrorism crack units, commandos, anti-riot forces, detectives among other elite units.

Ochola said the safety and security of all the aspirants, other stakeholders and the successful conduct of the exercise, remains a top priority for the Joint Task Forces.

“We would like to inform and reassure all the Presidential Aspirants that their safety and security is guaranteed,” said Ochola, adding, “The Joint Security Agencies have spent considerable time planning for the nominations, and we do feel confident about countering all forms of threats and security hazards.”

He emphasized that “there is no credible threat directed towards the presidential nominations.”

However, security forces do consider the nominations a potential target for threats and other vulnerabilities that could significantly affect the entire exercise.

According to Ochola, these include acts of civil disobedience such as sabotage, street violence strikes and demonstrations, defiance campaigns, provoking security forces into violent confrontations, intimidation and minor criminal activity such as; simple robbery, looting, vandalism and pick pocketing.

Other crimes of extra ordinary nature include, terrorism and cybercrimes.

Some opposition groups have since threatened to defy security guidelines on holding processions, a move police said will be dealt with firmly.

“For those political actors and groups that are still defiant and mobilizing Boda Boda riders and militias onto the streets; and ferrying supporters from upcountry into illegal processions and rallies; we are closely monitoring them,” said Ochola.

“Therefore, any Presidential Aspirant who mobilizes boda bodas for a procession risks being arrested including those boda boda riders.   We have plans to respond proportionately, in the face of violent crime, which may include the use of teargas to disperse these violent groups and arrest the culprits for prosecution.”

He called for cooperation among individual and political actors for a peaceful and secure nomination exercise.

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