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Lack of Protective Equipment Worry Security Personnel in Gulu

Another UPDF personnel attached to the UPDF 4th Division lamented they have been arresting and sometimes beating suspects defying lawful orders without any protective equipment exposing them and their families to risk.
06 Apr 2020 14:51
Armed Police in Gulu backed by soldiers of Uganda People’s Defense Force (UPDF) patrolling streets-Photo by Dominic Ochola

Audio 3

Lack of Personal Protective Equipment is worrying security personnel enforcing public guidelines against COVID-19 in Gulu.

Hundreds of armed police officers backed by Local Defense Units (LDU) personnel and Uganda People’s Defense Force – UPDF are enforcing the 14-days curfew to combat the pandemic as declared by President Yoweri Museveni.

However, the security personnel are visibly engaging in running battles with civilians on the streets to close shops and arresting errant citizens flouting curfew rules without basic protective gear such as face masks and gloves to safeguard against the contagion.

One police officer attached to Field Force Unit (FFU) who preferred anonymity wonders why the Government is not equipping them with protective gears despite passing a supplementary budget.

Another UPDF personnel attached to the UPDF 4th Division lamented they have been arresting and sometimes beating suspects defying lawful orders without any protective equipment exposing them and their families to risk.

Charles Okumu, a resident of Pece Division in Gulu Municipality expressed disappointment at Government for using security personnel like they are immune to the deadly virus.

//Cue in: “For us we …   Cue out: …to one another.’’//

Eric Odong, another concerned resident of Layibi Division observed that the level at which security personnel are exposed is worrying and can instead lead to the rapid spread of the deadly plague if breaks out.

//Cue in: “Very very very … 

Cue out: …on both sides.’’//

Patrick Jimmy Okema, the Aswa River Region Police Spokesperson admits that lack of personal protective gear is a big concern to them and a national crisis being handled by Government through the Ministry of Health.

//Cue in: “That is one… 

Cue out: …very challenging thing.’’//

Last week, some police personnel in Zombo District were directed to be under self and institutional quarantine after they were exposed to a suspected case of Coronavirus while effecting arrests.

On Tuesday last week, Government passed budget allocation of 80 billion Shillings to aid the operations of the country’s security sector in the fight against the Coronavirus but as to when the funds will be expended to purchase the items remains a question for another day.

Uganda’s confirmed cases have risen to 52 as of Sunday after four new cases were registered from 300 samples tested at the Uganda Virus Research Institute in Entebbe.