Two female and one male trainee have died at the ongoing military training at Police Training School (PTS) at Kabalye in Masindi district.
4500 Probation Police Constables (PPCs) and 500 Learner Assistant Inspectors of Police (LAIPs) started a one-year police course in September last year.
It is alleged that two female trainees lost their lives due to over bleeding after they got miscarriages during the 52 days of training. Police spokesperson Fred Enanga said he was still waiting for a report from PTS commandant, ACP Abubaker Ziwedde. Nevertheless, Enanga said it is not unusual for trainees to die during this kind of training.
"Usually, during some of the rigorous training programs, of course, due to dehydration and so on, there are those trainees who get so weak. But we shall need to find out at least; based on the postmortem report what was the cause of death? Was it something arising out of natural or unnatural causes?" said Enanga.
Though details of the victims have remained scanty, a source at Naguru police headquarters said a special probe has been set up to understand how pregnant ladies were admitted for the training because it is against the recruitment procedures.
"After the death of female trainees whose death was attributed to miscarriage as a result of rigorous exercises, a fresh medical examination was conducted and three other ladies were found pregnant. They are still stuck at the school," said the source.
A source said the trainees died because of intense military training that is always undertaken by all police trainees in their first two months commonly referred to as '52 days of sleepless nights.' It is said one female trainee dropped dead in the fourth week, while another female and male trainee died in November and December respectively.
Nevertheless, the source put the death toll to five so far, while those that are sick are eight. At least 20 military trainees arrived at PTS to take the recruits into rigorous military training in September two weeks after they had arrived for the course.
The recruitment exercise that started in July last year was marred with scandals after 130 recruits were rejected upon reaching the school because they had incorrect academic papers and health documents.
Inspector general of police, Martins Okoth Ochola ordered for fresh scrutiny of all files of trainees and it was established that over 2,100 were above the required age. For PPCs, they were supposed to be between 18 and 22 years, while LAIPs were supposed to be between 23 and 25 years old.
With almost half of the trainees being overage, the police's policy advisory committee (PAC) chaired by Ochola resolved to tactically re-advertise 2000 vacancies purposely to accommodate the 2000 recruits who were on the verge of being turned down. The age qualification was amended from 22 to 25 years for PPCs and 25 to 28 for LAIPs.