New Vision (Kampala)

17 April 2010

Uganda: Disarm Private Security Guards

editorial

Kampala — A private security guard in Kampala shot and killed a manager of an entertainment company last week. Ironically the manager was one of the tenants in the commercial building the security man was guarding.

Cases of private guards shooting innocent people are becoming common. Last month one pulled the trigger killing two Makerere University students and fatally injuring another.

The students were following guild presidential candidates' campaign when a single shot ended their lives. In the last week's incident, the guard acted on the suspicion that the manager was making fun of him.

This senseless shooting and killing must be stopped. the Government must rein in the private security industry before many more lives are lost at the hand of trigger-happy, irrational and poorly trained guards.

Not only are they killing people, but also involved in armed robberies. They are cited in more than half of bank robberies recorded in Uganda.

Private guards are misusing the gun. In other words they are perpetrating crime either by direct involvement, colluding with the criminals or shooting people. It's the guns they carry, which are meant to protect lives and property, which are used to either harm their clients or innocent civilians.

The point is by having private security guards armed the number of guns in the hands of reckless individuals is at worrying levels. It is time a law to disarm all non-state guards is passed.

Uganda can learn from Kenya where private security personnel are unarmed. What a guard needs is sophisticated communication gadgets to call the Police and private security response units to his duty station in case of emergency.

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