Uganda refutes claims it provided a firefighting truck during Kenyan protests

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Uganda Police spokesperson Fred Enanga addressing journalists.

Nairobi, Kenya | By Michael Wandati | The Uganda Police Force has refuted social media claims suggesting that one of its firefighting trucks was deployed during the recent protests in neighboring Kenya.

On Friday, various social media platforms in Kenya and Uganda circulated images of a Uganda Police firefighting truck with the registration number UP9596, allegedly photographed amidst the protests in Nakuru, Kenya.

In a weekly press briefing held at the police headquarters in Naguru, Kampala, police spokesperson Fred Enanga addressed the issue. Enanga clarified that the social media posts were misleading, as they only depicted the truck in transit and wrongly insinuated its involvement in the Kenyan protests.

Enanga further explained that the firefighting truck from the Masaka CPS Fire and Rescue Department had been sent to Nairobi for mechanical repairs.

 Crowds of Kenyans again took to the streets in protest, clashing with police in Nairobi as nationwide demonstrations continue over a controversial tax bill.

He mentioned that on June 21, 2024, while en route, the truck encountered protesters in Nakuru. These individuals surrounded the vehicle, mistakenly believing it was part of the ongoing demonstrations.

“The accusations that the Uganda Police, deployed a fire fighting truck, in the recent spate of protests in Kenya is false and misleading. Our counterparts the Kenyan Police, know that we have nothing to do with the protests. We respect the sovereignty of Kenya and its decisions,” Enanga told journalists in Kampala.

“Mutual respect and understanding continues to be the basis of our cooperation with the Kenyan Police,” he added.

Over the past few days, police in Kenya have been addressing protests sparked by a controversial tax bill — known as the Finance Bill 2024 projected to generate an additional $2.7 billion in revenue. The demonstrations have resulted in over 100 arrests and at least one confirmed fatality.

The tax bill, which aims to increase government revenue through higher taxes on essential goods and services, has been met with widespread public outcry.

Protestors react after police used teargas to disperse them during a demonstration against Kenya’s proposed finance bill 2024/2025, in Nairobi, Kenya, June 20, 2024.

Critics argue that the bill disproportionately affects low- and middle-income citizens, exacerbating the economic challenges faced by many Kenyans. Protesters have taken to the streets in various cities, including Nairobi and Mombasa, voicing their frustration and demanding the bill’s withdrawal.

Also Read: Uganda Police to limit use of tear gas in quelling protests

Tensions escalated as clashes between demonstrators and police turned violent. In some areas, protesters set up roadblocks and burned tires, while police responded with tear gas and water cannons in an effort to disperse the crowds. The unrest has disrupted daily life, leading to the closure of businesses and schools in affected regions.

Human rights organizations have condemned the government’s handling of the protests, calling for restraint and dialogue to address the public’s grievances. Meanwhile, the government maintains that the tax increases are necessary to fund critical infrastructure projects and social services.

As the situation unfolds, the international community is closely monitoring the developments in Kenya, urging both the government and protesters to seek peaceful resolutions to the crisis.