Security in Mbarara arrests 150 in crackdown on non-essential workers

Security in Mbarara arrests 150 in crackdown on non-essential workers
Security operatives in Mbarara launched a crackdown on non-essential workers and arrested 150 people

Mbarara, Uganda | URN | Police with the assistance of the UPDF in Mbarara city have arrested 150 people for flouting presidential directives and Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) set by Ministry of Health to curb the spread of COVID-19.

They were arrested on Monday 12, July 2021 in an operation that lasted for seven hours to crackdown on the many people who walked to town without specific responsibilities to fulfill.

The security personnel kept asking everybody what they were going to do in town and whoever failed to explain and had no documentation would be arrested.

James Mwesigye, chairperson of COVID-19 Taskforce and Resident City Commissioner says that people had developed a tendency of walking to town and loitering and sitting on their shops’ verandahs’ even when they are locked.

Mwesigye says the number of people along the streets had increased in the past week and most of them were not following the SOPs.

Mwesigye says such people are portraying the wrong side of Mbarara city that people are not adhering to the presidential directives which is not true.

He says the seriousness of the operations has seen a reduction of COVID-19 infections, noting that at the start, over 90 cases were being registered a day but of late, they are registering between 5 and 10 cases.

Dr Celestine Barigye says they have registered a reduction of deaths at the regional hospital from 9 to 3 per week.

Edgar Magara, an electronics trader along High Street says they have resorted to waiting on the verandah and calling passersby if they want anything to enter them inside their shops and they close.

James Ariganyira, chairperson Katete mini-market traders criticized the arrests saying that such people coming to town are their customers buying food.

He says they are losing produce since people are not coming to town in fear of being arrested.

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Norah Mirembe, acting Mbarara City Police Commander says that such operations will go on.

All the arrested were warned and released after a sensitization done by the police medical officer.

Mirembe pleaded with the city commissioner to have them released after a warning because they deserved a second chance.

Patricia Tukamushaba, a mobile money operator said she wasn’t aware that they were also stopped from working since she has been working from day one of the lockdown.

She said her pleas fell on deaf ears as she was asked to get onto the truck.