President Yoweri Museveni has said the security officers who brutally arrested Yusuf Kawooya, a member of the Democratic Party on Thursday October 18th did not take the right steps in apprehending him.
Museveni, in a lengthy statement providing guidelines on how to handle suspects, blamed both the arresting officers for the brutality, and also Mr Kawooya,for allegedly attacking the officers.
The President said the officer who was filmed gun-butting Kawooya in the chest “made a mistake” and that he should have instead boxed him, if he felt endangered by the suspect.
According to the president, Mr Kawooya during the arrest, bit one of the officers, who responded by hitting him with the gun butt.
While the biting is not shown in the only footage of the arrest, which was captured by Record Tv, Museveni says Kawooya shouldn’t have attacked the officers.
“The security person who was seen using a rifle butt may have made a mistake,” the president said in the letter dated October 23rd to the heads of security agencies.
“When I inquired, the concerned people told me that the suspect had bitten him (okuruma).”
Museveni added, “That is very serious because some of the criminals have got infectious diseases. Our officer can be infected in that way and that should be an extra charge put on him.”
The president however, noted that the officers should have used non-lethal ways to apprehend the suspect.
“The appropriate response would have been to box him hard so that he stops biting our officer,” he said.
“That would be self-defense which is very legitimate. Hitting him with a rifle butt after he has stopped biting you, however, is both vengeance and also usurping the role of the punisher (the courts).”
Kawooya, who was hospitalized early this week, says is ribs were broken during the arrest.
He says he never attacked the officers, but only tried to run away, when one of the officers called out his name from the car in which he saw other men with guns.
“They ran after men, and I ran into one of their vehicles. One of them immediately hit me with the gun on head and they started punching me and hitting me,” he said.
Kawooya, a member of the Uganda Yong Democrats says he was accused of being connected to Jamil Mukulu, the former commander of the terrorist group ADF.
The UPDF, two days after the arrest, paraded five of its officers before an internal disciplinary court, and said these had been “made to atone for their crimes.”