The Chief of Defence Forces (CDF) Maj Gen David Muhoozi says the trend witnessed by the public, of army officers deployed on streets with sticks during political riots will continue, until the Local Defence Unit (LDU) officers are passed out.
According to Muhoozi, officers caning protestors and dispersing political gatherings with sticks is non-lethal and an acceptable standard. He at the same time condemned torture.
The CDF wants the army to be given time to investigate allegations of human rights violations against civilians insisting the force is doing what it takes to investigate the issues raised.
“We instituted investigations for some of the officers. We don’t condone torture, it is abhorrent, our laws and strength as UPDF is the people,” Muhoozi said.
Regarding the use of sticks to disperse people, Muhoozi said in the case of unavailability of batons, sticks are the non-lethal option. He reiterated that the army shall keep deploying with the sticks until a certain time.
“We intend to keep that posture for the time we shall be raising the LDUs and afterwards the soldiers will go back to the barracks.”
In recent months, the army has come under criticism for inhumane treatment, citing scenarios involving Kyadondo East legislator Robert Kyagulanyi Ssentamu in Arua, Reuters photojournalist James Akena in down town Kampala and Hassan Ssewankambo alias Sweet pepsi in Kasangati, Waskiso district.
Security minister Gen Elly Tumwine would later justify the acts by army officers by asking; “what would you prefer the army officers to use? Sticks or guns?