Kampala, Uganda | URN | Uganda Police Force (UPF) has resolved to procure more Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV) alias drones to improve aerial surveillance and response to crime incidents.
According to police sources, the decision is in line with the president’s comments during the State of the Nation Address on the need for the forces to have Unmanned Aerial Vehicles to boost surveillance.
President Museveni’s comments were prompted by findings by a joint security team indicating the attacked assailants who tried to kill the former Chief of Defense Forces-CDF Gen. Edward Katumba Wamala spent over 50 minutes rotating in the area after their botched mission.
The assailants showered the vehicle of Gen. Katumba with bullets along Kisota road in Kawempe on June 1st, 2021, killing his daughter Brenda Nantongo and driver Haruna Kayondo. Gen. Katumba escaped with bullets lodged in his body. According to security experts, the attackers could have been cornered if there was a timely response with the help of good surveillance.
After scrutinizing video footage on the incident, the Deputy Inspector-General of Police, Maj. Gen Paul Lokech said the four assailants moving on motorcycles spent over 50 minutes in the area. Maj. Gen Lokech explained that they had reviewed the incident and come up with a robust program to counter and detect surveillance to deny criminals future opportunities to attack.
Apparently, police use helicopters for day and night surveillance when the need arises. The helicopters are fitted with cameras and floodlights to help in the night surveillance. According to sources, police also own five drones and balloons, which they deploy at mammoth gatherings such as the Uganda Martyrs Day celebration in Namugongo every June 3rd.
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However, this is bound to change as the police leadership has reportedly tasked the Director of Information Communication Technology –ICT, Felix Baryamwisaki to list whatever is needed to establish a robust UAV system. . The UAV system can be used to spy and attack suspected criminal elements without necessarily sending personnel.
Police spokesperson Fred Enanga says that UAV system is part of the CCTV project, which they are gradually improving. However, our reporter couldn’t establish how many drones the police intends to procure. Source also indicates that police have embarked on ensuring that the vehicles of Very Very Important Persons [VVIPs] are mounted with security cameras with the capacity of sending signals and sound in case of an attack.
UPDF Spokesperson Brig Flavia Byekwaso said UAVs are some of the areas the force hopes to improve in the nearby future. One of the crime incidents that received timely response using real-time intelligence provided by CCTVs in 2020 included the rescue of Indian national Ms Poofa, the general manager of Com-Coil Company Limited after being kidnapped by motorcyclists.
The patrol team swung into action and rescued her within 2 hours.