KAMPALA – The Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development has said Ugandans working as security guards in Iraq are not directly involved in any combat operations.
There has been growing concern over the safety of Ugandans working as security guards in Iraq in the wake of violent protests that broke out at the US Embassy in Baghdad on Tuesday. Stories related to the incident have been carried by Ugandan media and this has not only worried Ugandans with relatives in Iraq.
But the ministry, in a statement issued at the weekend, said such reports are not true.
“The Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development, as a lead agency in the externalisation of labour, is in touch with officials of SOC-USA; the company that employs the Ugandan guards, and therefore we wish to apprise the general public as follows; There are about 700 Ugandans deployed in Iraq as security guards. The entire contingent is not involved in any combat operations and as such, no injuries or fatalities have been registered arising out of the protests at the US Embassy in Baghdad,” the statement adds.
“The Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development is keeping contact with SOC- USA and further details will be availed should there be new developments,” the statement adds.
Last Friday, Daily Monitor reported that at least 500 Ugandan private security guards at the United States of America embassy in Baghdad were involved in the running battles with the Iraqi demonstrators who attacked the embassy last Tuesday.
According to the video posted on Tweeter by the American Live Breaking News, the Ugandan armed guards dressed in ballistic vests and helmets are seen standing at the entrance of the embassy as demonstrators smashed the outer wall.
These Ugandan guards are the first line of defence of the embassy because they manage towers, entry points to the embassy, check all the visitors and also guard an airstrip inside the embassy premises.
The former guards at the embassy who didn’t want to be named confirmed that these were Ugandans who make over 85 percent of the guards at the embassy. Other guards are got from Kenya, India and Peru.