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Were they trained to protect or kill? JEEMA concerned over brutality by LDU recruits

JEEMA party leader and lawyer Asuman Basalirwa has decried the brutality of LDU recruits. (PHOTO/File)

KAMPALA – The opposition Justice Forum (JEEMA) has condemned the brutality and illegal acts unleashed to the public by the recently commissioned members of the Local Defence Unit (LDU).

The incidents of brutality by the LDUs was experienced last week at Luzira trading centre when they were seen beating up supporters of Kyadondo East Member of Parliament Robert Kyagulanyi as they escorted him from prison after he was granted bail.

Addressing journalists at the party headquarters in Mengo, Kampala, JEEMA party president Asuman Basalirwa said it is bad for the force that has been recruited to offer security to start siding with the police to violate the rights of Ugandans.

The mayor of Nakawa Division in Kampala, Eng Ronald Balimwezo, said while it is a welcome move to deploy the LDUs to curb growing insecurity at the village level, they should work together hand with the local leaders and avoid inhumane arrest of civilian suspects.

About two weeks ago, President Yoweri Museveni passed the first batch of LDUs who underwent a four-month training at the Kaweweta UPDF Recruit Training School in Nakaseke District.

Fresh LDU recruits at a commissioning ceremony. The opposition has decried their brutality. (PHOTO/File)

The President said the LDU force is part of the wider and cheaper way of defending the country through an affordable formula where you have no big army in time of peace but one which has necessary and strategic elements.

However, the LDUs have a bad history with several cases of extortion and criminality well documented. Last month, Police in Abim District arrested three Local Defence Unit (LDU) personnel for allegedly shooting dead three herdsmen at Otumpili village, Alerek Sub County.

The incident happened on Saturday as the herdsmen allegedly walked to their kraal. Police have since recovered 33 cartridges from the scene. Police identified the suspects as Moses Otim, 37, Steven Ongom, 25 and Godfrey Ogwang, 23, all attached to Otalabar Army detach.

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