LDUs complete refresher training, UPDF restrict them to night operations

Ugandan police officers and members of Local Defence Units (LDU), a paramilitary force composed of civilians, patrol during the curfew after 7pm in Kampala, Uganda, on April, 29, 2020. - Ugandan President on April 14, 2020, ordered the extension of a 21-day nationwide lockdown with a strict night curfew, in a bid to halt the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus. COURTESY PHOTO/SUMY SADURNI / AFP

Kampala, Uganda | URN | Uganda People’s Defense Forces (UPDF) has barred Local Defense Unit (LDU) personnel from daytime security operations.

A statement by the newly appointed Defense Ministry Spokesperson, Brig Flavia Byekwaso, says although LDUs who have completed a fresher training are going to be redeployed, their role is restricted to strengthening night operations to curb crime.

According to the statement, the LDUs will also participate in intelligence led operations on specific targets on request and support of Uganda Police Force. “The LDUs shall not participate in daytime enforcement of COVID-19 directives outlined by Ministry of Health and head of state,” Brig Byekwaso said.

Over 10 people have been killed by LDUs and other security operatives while enforcing Covid19 preventive directives and guidelines. Some of the victims include Eric Mugasira, the Mukono head teacher and Margret Nanyunja, a resident of Kyengera.

Brig Byekwaso explains that several local leaders and members of the general public have been complaining that the withdrawal of LDUs has seen an increase in criminal activities particularly during night hours.

“Owing to the withdraw of LDUs from active operations to go back for refresher training, the level of criminality has since increased especially during the night. Severally, local leaders and the general public have petitioned security leaders to re-engage them in order to contain the situation,” Brig Byekwaso said.

More than 6,000 LDUs were withdrawn from Kampala and taken to Kakiri army barracks for refresher training. The training was majorly on crowd control, firearm handling and human rights observance. Maj. Gen Leopold Kyanda, who is also the Chief of Staff Land Forces, urged LDUs to work towards being citizens with reputable images last week.

Although Maj. Gen Kyanda applauded LDUs for their contribution in fighting crime in Kampala Metropolitan areas, he said the few isolated cases of indiscipline have tainted the image of UPDF. 

Read Also: UPDF conducting refresher course for LDUs

“In the UPDF, we have no space for any form of indiscipline. There is no amount of indiscipline that is small to us. A mere abusive language or annoying gesture to the civilians is too grave an act to do. You must work towards correcting these mistakes as you conduct your operations,” Maj. Gen Kyanda was quoted in a statement issued by Lt. Col. Deo Akiiki. 

Kyanda said the refresher course is very necessary for the LDU’s ideological growth, a prerequisite in their career in UPDF. He said it is important that LDUs grasp every bit of the lessons taught, saying it would help them in their day to day life and in the distant future.

The LDUs were trained by the Field Force Unit- FFU, Deputy Commander Reserve Forces, Maj. Gen. Stephen Rwabantu, the UPDF Chief Political Commissar, Maj. Gen. Henry Matsiko and Brig. Gen. Flavia Byekwaso.