The Ugandan army is currently clearing its barracks across the country of shops and drinking bars. A move the army says is intended to ‘‘avoid items inside military installations that are not supposed to be there.’‘
The Daily Monitor portal however alludes the move to a curb in the rising incidence of shooting where many people have been killed by drunken soldiers.
Directive from Army Chief
It’s not related to the shootings. We are just streamlining how businesses are done inside the barracks based on our standard operating procedures that govern activities in the military barracks.
The portal reports that the ‘‘clear out’‘ was issued by Gen Katumba Wamala, the Chief of Defence Forces (CDF) of the Uganda People’s Defence Forces (UPDF) a fortnight ago but its implementation started last week.
Spokesperson of the Airforce, Maj Tabaro Kiconco, is quoted to have said that the directive was part of a streamlining of activities in the various barracks across the country.
UPDF bans shops, bars in barracks https://t.co/vBVDO0nCf8— Daily Monitor (@DailyMonitor) August 20, 2016
Denial that directive is linked to shootings
Maj Kiconco denied that the move was to curb shooting. He insisted that the move was a genuine guideline from the army leadership meant to rid barracks of items that can influence soldiers to misbehave.
“It’s not related to the shootings. We are just streamlining how businesses are done inside the barracks based on our standard operating procedures that govern activities in the military barracks,” he said.
History of drunken soldiers killing people
Uganda has a history of drunk soldiers going on rampage in barracks. According to the Daily Monitor, the most recent event was last month; when a suspected drunken soldier shot and killed seven people inside a Military Police Barracks in the capital, Kampala.
- March 2013: a soldier shot dead 10 people, including five soldiers and injured two others outside Bombo barracks in Luweero District.
- December, 2013: UPDF soldier Patrick Odong opens fire at revellers in a pub in Kiwanawataka, Kampala, killing three people.
- May 2009: officer attached to Special Forces Command, opens fire on revellers at Top Pub in Kampala, killing eight people after a prostitute reportedly fleeced him of his mobile phone and money. He later shot himself dead.
- September 2006: officer shoots at a crowd in Paradise Night Club, killing at least three people and injuring four others.
The affected businesses are those owned by families of UPDF officers, most of who run these shops and bars as a source of additional income.