Outrage as Ugandan army guards assault female traffic officer for doing her job

Mildred Europa Taylor February 26, 2019
Army bodyguards of a Ugandan top diplomat assault female traffic police officer

Outrage as Ugandan army guards assault female traffic officer for doing her job.

Ugandans have expressed anger over reports that a female traffic officer on duty had been assaulted by the military escort of Major General Matayo Kyaligonza, the country’s ambassador to Burundi.

Kyaligonza and two military police soldiers were seen in a video clip shared on social media harassing Sergeant Esther Namaganda who had stopped them from making a U-turn in the middle of a road leading to the capital, Kampala on Sunday.

A complaint filed by the alleged victim stated that the driver of the vehicle in which Kyaligonza was moving, tried to make a u-turn in the middle of the road.

However, two military police officers and Kyaligonza “pounced on her when she tried to direct them to the right turning point.”

Uganda People’s Defence Forces (UPDF) spokesperson, Brigadier General Richard Karemire, said that the two soldiers – Lance Corporal Peter Bushindiki and Private Okurut John Robert – have been arrested as investigations continue.

“They are now held at Military Police Headquarters. We reiterate our commitment to ensuring discipline of all ranks,” said Karemire, who also apologized to the victim.

“It is very regrettable and apologies to our police sister. UPDF and UPF are establishing the facts. Findings will guide action to be taken,” he said.

Meanwhile, police have opened a case file of threatening violence and assault against Kyaligonza, who is seen dressed in a white shirt in the viral video of the incident, the Daily Monitor reports.

From the footage which has been condemned by activists, he did not attempt stopping the soldiers from manhandling the traffic officer or from attacking bystanders.

Kyaligonza, a retired army officer and the ruling National Resistance Movement (NRM) vice chairperson for western region, is a member of army High Command. He is, however, surrounded with controversies.

In 1989, he was demoted for slapping a police officer. In May last year, he was also accused of beating up his neighbour after a disagreement over land boundaries, said the Daily Monitor.

In August that same year, it was also reported that UPDF soldiers guarding the home of the ambassador allegedly beat a resident to death following a disagreement at a construction site belonging to the major general.

These are some of the many cases in which army personnel have been involved, but most of them go without being investigated to a conclusion, the Daily Monitor said.

For his role in the liberation struggle which brought President Yoweri Museveni into power three decades ago, it remains to be seen how the latest incident will be investigated.

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