Colonel Wilberforce Serunkuma, the Uganda People’s Defense Forces (UPDF) 2nd Division Commander, has issued a stern warning to civilians about the dangers of attacking armed security personnel. This warning follows recent incidents where civilians were shot dead by police officers during confrontations.

On May 23, 2024, Kenneth Mutusi, 40, a resident of Nyakanengo village, Muhanga town council in Rukiga district, was shot dead by a police officer. Mutusi had forcefully entered the home of Rosette Kyarisiima, 39, in Nyakabungo village, Butare ward, with the intent to kill her over a land dispute. He severely injured Kyarisiima on the head with an axe and machete. When police intervened, Mutusi charged at them, prompting an officer to shoot him in self-defense.

Two days earlier, on May 21, Sergeant John Tumwesigye, 59, Officer in Charge of Nyanja police post, and Police Constable James Owomuhangi, also from Nyanja police post in Kabale district, shot and killed Chris Twijomujuni, 35, from Rujogoma village. Twijomujuni had obstructed police officers who were attempting to arrest marijuana smokers at a bar in Nyanja trading center.

Colonel Serunkuma explained that attacking security officers creates suspicion that the attacker might be a criminal or a rebel seeking to seize guns and ammunition to destabilize the state. As a result, officers are compelled to defend themselves by shooting the attacker to prevent the loss of their weapons.

“If you want to attack a security officer, it will be assumed you have criminal intentions or are a rebel seeking weapons. In such cases, officers will have no choice but to shoot in self-defense and to protect their arms,” Serunkuma stated.

Colonel Serunkuma emphasized this message during a high-profile, closed-door meeting with security officials from Kabale, Kisoro, Kanungu, Rukiga, Rubanda, Rukungiri, and Ntungamo districts at the Kabale district council hall. He later issued his warning to the public.

Elly Maate, the police spokesperson for the Kigezi region, expressed frustration that the public often blames security officers after such incidents without considering the actions and intentions of the attackers.

Maate stressed the importance of understanding the context in which officers act, emphasizing that their primary aim is to protect themselves and maintain public order.

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