By Andrew Irumba
Kampala: A senior Military Police officer, who allegedly commanded the brutal operation at Makerere University in which the military unleashed wanton violence on students and journalists, has been arrested by the Uganda Peoples Defence Forces (UPDF).
The development was confirmed by the UPDF spokesperson Brig. Richard Karemire, who identified the errant officer as Capt. Ronald Lubeera, who is in command of the Military Police Detach in Kampala.
Brig. Karemire revealed that Capt. Lubeera is currently in detention at the the Military Police Headquarters in Makindye as investigations continue
The Police and the military came under national and global criticism for using excessive force on Makerere University students last week as they protested against the 15% tuition increment, a decision that has since been rescinded by the University Management.
Several students sustained injuries, many were abducted and some are still hospitalized as a result of the brutality that the military and police meted unto them on Capt. Lubeera’s orders.
Numerous international organisations, the US Embassy , the European Union, Members of Parliament, Human Rights Commission and human rights observers, vehemently condemned the brutality and called upon the concerned authorities to arrest all security officers who perpetrated the violence such that they can be prosecuted.
Following Capt. Lubeera’s arrest, Karemire noted that “A Board of Inquiry led by Lt. Col. Richard Ochen Okum has been established to look into what exactly happened.”
The Army was initially deployed last week to support the police in handling the Makerere riots as students protested the controversial fees hike.
The military however, came under intense scrutiny for using excessive force on students.
Footage of military and police officers beating students, forcing them to roll on the ground half naked, storming and firing teargas in their rooms in hostels and halls of residence, all attracted widespread condemnation from local and international groups.
It was until president Yoweri Museveni, who had just returned from Russia, ordered the military to vacate Makerere that sanity was restored at the University.
In the same vein, following the brutality unleashed unto scribes by the police and military, the Uganda Journalists Association on Thursday announced a boycott on all police events after it emerged that several journalists were targeted by police officers and injured, as they lawfully reported what was happening during MAK protests.
The European Union also issued a statement this morning , calling on both the police and the Military to “refrain from acts of violence and to respect freedom of assembly and expression.”
“We are also alarmed by the use of force against and unwarranted arrests of journalists attempting to cover recent events at Makerere,” the EU statement said.