The Uganda police department is redeploying officers to northern Uganda following a 20-years absence. The move follows the signing of a truce with the LRA. As part of the decision, Deputy Inspector General of Police (IGP) Stephen Odwe relocated from the capital, Kampala, to northern Uganda to define the government’s current security strategy.
Edward Ochom is the commissioner of police in charge of public relations and spokesman of the newly established security committee in northern Uganda. He says that the LRA situation could not have been managed by the police and warranted the intervention of the army to take over the justice structure in the north.
“I quite agree their has been a problem, and the magnitude of the problem is well known to the whole world, that the factor of Kony…in the north is not just an internal matter that could have been handled by the police alone. It was a matter that warranted the army to be there and handle. We are happy that they have ably handled it and that probably explains why the police has not been most parts of northern Uganda especially in the Acholi sub region,” he said.
Local press reports say the government has accelerated its bid for internally displaced persons to return home. However, opposition politicians have criticized this, saying security in their villages remains tenuous.
Ochom counters this by saying the police are present in the districts. “We have some police structures in Gulu, we have also a structure in Kitgum and Madopepe. We have police posts and stations in Padre, but of course, they are not sufficient and most of our police officers have been, for the time being especially in the twenty years restricted to the town areas and in the rest of the areas the army has been taking charge of.”
Ochom explains the new strategy of the police force, saying it needs approximately US $10 million to enact the plan. He says the force will recruit an additional 2000 men to boast its current numbers. They will also rely on the local administration police forces that have recently been combined with the central police force.
“We shall deploy at all sub-counties in the north and open police posts in all those sub counties and in addition carry out both routine and regular foot and motorized patrols in northern Uganda especially the Acholi sub-region. But the office of the prime minister is going to release more money that is going to enable us, first of all, to recruit 2000 special police constables that we are going to train in the shortest time and utilize them along with our number that is there and with local administration police. [That’s] because now the local administration police is amalgamated with central police. So I think that will provide quite a sufficient number to deploy at the sub- county level.”
Let us know what you think of this report and other stories on our website. Send your views to AFRICA@VOANEWS.COM, and include your phone number. Or, call us here in Washington, DC at (202) 205-9942. After you hear the VOA identification, press 30 to leave a message. We want to hear what you have to say!