Kampala, Uganda | URN | At least 160 police officers who were deployed for year-long peacekeeping operations under the African Union Mission in Somalia – AMISOM have decried foul play in the processing of their payment of their benefits.
They were deployed in December 2020 following a six-month intensive pre-deployment training course at Kigo, Wakiso District under the Formed Police Unit – FPU. Their mandate was to provide police operations, public order management, and protection of African Union personnel and facilities.
One of the police officers who preferred anonymity told this publication on Saturday 22, July 2023 that after 13 months of delivering the AU mandate, they were only remunerated for three months, and the balance of the accrued benefits has never been remitted to their accounts more than a year since they returned in 2022.
In a petition to the Office of the Leader of Opposition in Parliament -LOP, Mathias Mpuuga, the officers cited futile attempts to seek redress from the police hierarchies, thus they want the indulgence of Parliament to probe the matter.
The LOP confirmed receiving the petition and stated that preliminary investigations show that the AU already disbursed the payment for the affected officers but ‘someone’ has the money in his or her account, plunging in serious disrepute the image of Uganda’s security and defense mission abroad.
Mpuuga condemned such acts of defrauding men in uniform because it breeds distress that affects their morale to serve members of the public. He emphasized that he is seeking space on the Order Paper to enable him to table the petition in the House for investigation.
Drawing parallels with the rampant reports of armed robberies in schools, supermarkets, and homes, the LOP called for a genuine evaluation of both the UPDF and police open-ended deployment in Somalia under the AMISON which has lasted for 12 years.
Mpuuga further condemned the appalling welfare of the security personnel in foreign missions as they go for several months without pay, and operate in a horrid environment while Uganda continues to suffer unimaginable internal insecurity such as the cattle raids.
The current crime patterns in the country are linked to indiscipline involving security personnel, deserters from both state and private security who mount illegal roadblocks, organized criminal gangs as well as supplying trained assassins among others.
Uganda first deployed police officers into the mission area in 2010, becoming the first East African country that deployed 201 police officers, 140 Formed Police Units, 60 Individual Police Officers, and 1 Senior Leadership Team officer.