Uganda: Police, Army Register Guns to Curb Crime

9 September 2019

Police and Uganda People's Defence Forces (UPDF) have launched a six-day exercise to register firearms across West Nile Sub-region to fight crime.

"Recently, we witnessed shooting incidences that have involved high profile people. In order to curb this crime, the President [Museveni] directed that all legally acquired guns are finger printed and entered into individual data base," Ms Josephine Angucia, the West Nile police spokesperson, said last week.

"This will improve monitoring and supervision of guns in the hands of private security organisations, civilians, police and UPDF. Should such registered guns be used to commit a crime in future, the details have been captured. This will also help us conduct speedy investigations," she added.

Ms Angucia said criminals have been using the South Sudan and DR Congo borders to misuse guns.

The army and police have in the past recovered guns from DR Congo and South Sudan.

Mr Thomas Kamugisha, a police officer, said the cartridges would be kept with experts so that investigations into cases of illegal use of guns are properly managed.

"We have just started this exercise although Kenya is far ahead of us, but we hope to complete this (exercise)," he said.

At least 16 people were shot dead by licensed guns since the start of the year, a search through publicly available information showed in March.

Five of the victims were shot dead by guards while the rest were killed by policemen.

Gun use in West Nile

Since last year, several people have been shot dead and others robbed on gun point, especially in Arua District. Police recovered some of the guns used in the criminal activities.

In May 2018, three people were shot dead in three different locations in one night in Arua. In April last year, three guns were recovered from Vurra Sub-county after an operation was carried out. One of the guns belonged to a UPDF soldier and was on sale at Shs500,000. Another recovered gun belonged to a security guard after it was found abandoned.

Gunpolicy.org, a Sydney-based evidence gun control information portal, estimates that Uganda's defence forces had 116,660 firearms while the police had about 54,000 in 2017. Civilians in Uganda were estimated to have 400,000 guns by 2007.

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