UPDF Arrest Top Military Police Commander Over  MAK   Brutality

UPDF Arrest Top Military Police Commander Over MAK Brutality

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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University students last week as  they protested against the 15% tuition increment, a decision that has since been rescinded by the University Management.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. 

Brig. Richard Karemire’s tweet about Capt. Lubeera’s arrest

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.

European Union statement about MAK violence

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. 

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