14 June 2019

Uganda: Police Free UPDF Soldiers Arrested At Robbery Scene

Two soldiers attached to a Major General of the Uganda People's Defence Forces, who were arrested on Tuesday on suspicion of being part of a robbery gang in Kampala city, were released yesterday.

The two soldiers, a sergeant and a private, were arrested on suspicion that they were spying on a police operation in Masanafu, Rubaga Division, where detectives disrupted armed robbers and recovered two guns on Tuesday.

The Kampala Metropolitan Police spokesman, Mr Patrick Onyango, said soldiers had gone for another operation and were arrested as a result of uncoordinated security operations.

"They were on another mission, following a suspect on an offence of obtaining money by false pretence reported at Lubowa Police Station. When they were found at the scene, they were suspected to be part of the gang. We have verified that they are innocent and have been released," Mr Onyango said.

A loaded star pistol belonging to the UPDF was recovered from the two soldiers. Police also impounded their vehicle, a Toyota Noah, which the soldiers were using at the time of arrest.

However, it is not clear how soldiers not attached to any security investigation unit were following up a criminal case that police were already handling.

On Tuesday, police carried out an intelligence-led operation at a residence in Masanafu where they recovered two A-47s guns belonging to the army after an intense shootout between police and the suspects. One suspect was arrested while another, Richard Kasirye, a UPDF soldier, escaped.

A police officer was shot and injured in the shootout.

The source said the two soldiers attached to the Major General, arrived at the scene in their vehicle and parked on a roadside a few minutes after the shootout between police officers and suspected robbers. The source said this created suspicion that the soldiers intended to recce on the police operation.

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