Kampala, Uganda | URN | The Uganda People’s Defence Forces (UPDF) has warned the public against falling prey to fraudsters as it announces recruititment of more 10,000 Local Defence Unit (LDUs) to beef up village security.
Lt. Col Ronald Kakurungu, who is the Deputy Defence and army spokesperson said the recruitment exercise will commence next month. He added that all parts of the country will be given equal opportunities for the able youths aged 18 to 25 years to take up the positions.
However, Lt. Col Kakurungu said they were concerned of incidents that came up during the previous recruitment exercises where people were charged money by unscrupulous groups claiming to be serving on interests of UPDF.
UPDF has reminded Ugandans that the force does not ask people to pay any money to join because the recruitment process is always public and not done through the back door. People have been asked to report whoever will call or send messages asking for money for their relatives to be recruited.
“The recruitment dates will be announced in the mainstream media. The recruitment venues will also be made known for everyone. Don’t be duped. Don’t be conned to pay money. UPDF doesn’t charge people to join its forces,” said Lt. Col Kakurungu.
President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni ordered for recruitment of 24,000 LDUs in 2018. At the time, the country mostly the Kampala metropolitan area that includes Kampala City, Wakiso and Mukono districts were experiencing a spate of violent crimes, among others, assassinations, armed robberies, children and women kidnaps.
Museveni gave LDU recruitment orders five days after the then Arua Municipality MP Col. Ibrahim Abiriga had been gunned down near his home area in Kawanda, Nansana municipality in Wakiso district.
Between 2018 and 2019, UPDF recruited close to 20,000 LDUs. The first group constituted more than 6,000 LDUs, who were deployed in Kampala metropolitan area. Another group had 12,000 LDUs who were deployed in among other areas of Masaka, Mityana, Jinja, Mbale, Soroti and Luwero.
Fred Egesa, a security analyst says it is not necessary for UPDF to recruit more LDUs. Egesa thinks the government should put emphasis on building intelligence networks from grassroots to the top.
“I wish the president had people who are able to analyze security trends and they advise him. In this state of affairs, you don’t need more LDUs. But you need to strengthen intelligence network from the lowest level,” said Egesa.
LDU have been on the spotlight ever since they were recruited two years ago. Their brutality was mostly visible during the first COVID-19 lockdown last year where they whipped several women vendors on streets of Kampala. In addition, a number of people are still nursing wounds and others died in the hands of LDUs.