The Minister of Internal Affairs, Gen. Kahinda Otafiire has directed security forces to stop arresting people without doing sufficient investigations. According to Otafiire, uncoordinated arrests had created fear among the population who would otherwise be willing to offer security useful information.
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He was speaking during the launch of an anti-terrorism campaign at Bwera Primary School in Kasese Tuesday involving clerics from different faith groups and civil society organizations led by Muslims.
The minister also guided that once a person is found to have given security wrong information against another, he should be arrested to explain why he did so.
According to Kahinda, many people have been arrested on false allegations of engaging in serious criminal activities such as terrorism.
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The anti-terrorism campaign focuses on promoting messages of peace, stability, and development through social-economic transformation and household income. The designers of the campaign, say that throughout the ages religion has served as a guide to humanity, establishing the foundations of morality and providing a vision of a good society.
Saddick Musa Lukandwa, the head of the campaign coordination team also working as the principal contact between the coalition and the security agencies, said the initiative will work on a principle of social-economic transformation as an effort to deter young people from being persuaded to join rebel activities. He noted the Rwenzori region has been a gateway for recruiting young people into the rebel Allied Democratic Force-ADF.
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Lukadwa said they are partnering with government agencies including security organs for effective implementation of the campaign, in particular, the parish development model, which the religious leaders fully support.
He acknowledges that religious leaders are well placed to deal with community-based concerns and play a significant role to create a culture of peace.
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The Bunyoro-Tooro Regional Kadhi, Abdul Hakim Juma told URN that the initiative is key in trying to explain the true values of Islam and defuse the negative connotations attached to Islam and Muslims. He pledged that as religious leaders they will remain focused on strengthening the institution of the family and mobilizing the masses towards development.
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William Wilberforce Bwambale, the coordinator of world evangelical ministries in Kasese, said its the responsibility of religious leaders to guide people on development and peace.
The Director of Counter-Terrorism in Uganda Police Force, David Waswa said that terrorists can be killed but the acts of terrorism can only be dealt with by working on the ideologies of people.
He said many times security forces have been hunting down terror suspects without the help of religious leaders who are significant in demystifying some beliefs.
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The deputy chief of civil-military cooperation-DCCIMIC in UPDF, Col. Sam Ntambirwe said ending act of terrorism requires the participation of the whole community. He noted that the security forces were willing to work with the coalition to preach against terrorism and all its ideologies.
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Agnes Pasiko, a resident of Bwera in Kasese informed the coalition and security officials that many young people have been lured into criminal acts because they lack jobs and guidance. For example, she indicated that many youths in Bwera had become jobless and drug addicts since the cross-border business was been restricted during the COVID-19 lockdown.