Uganda: UPDF decline to finger-print guns

Mamos Media

Police officers in Kyoga Region prepare firearms for fingerprinting in September, 2019. Photo/ Uganda Police Force.

By Andrew Bagala

The Uganda People’s Defence Forces (UPDF) have not embarked on finger-printing guns nearly 32 months after President Museveni in his capacity as the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, ordered all firearms to be forensically recorded.
Gen Museveni issued the directive in June 2018 following a spate of killings in which shooters on motorbikes gunned down high-profile citizens and fled without trace.

 Some of the prominent victims killed between 2015 and 2018 include the then Arua Municipality Member of Parliament (MP) Ibrahim Abiriga, former police spokesperson Andrew Felix Kaweesi and former Buyende District police commander Muhammad Kirumira.
 Others were Rtd Maj Mohammad Kiggundu and principal state prosecutor Joan Kagezi alongside several Muslim clerics, among them, Kibuli faction spokesperson Hassan Kirya.

 “I have [ordered] the sub-committee of the National Security Council that all guns must be fingerprinted by firing each gun a number of times in controlled conditions to capture the fingerprints of each one,” Gen Museveni told Parliament in June 2018 during an address of security situation in the country.
 He added: “That will mean that if any legal gun in Uganda is used, we shall know which gun was used and since we know who is carrying which gun, we shall easily know the crime perpetrator.”

Our investigations show that police began finger-printing guns three months after the presidential directive and nearly 96.7 per cent of firearms used by the force personnel had been finger-printed by January 6.
The Uganda Prison Services reports that they had taken cartridge samples of 99.98 per cent of their guns.
Official records show that eight of every 10 firearms used by private security have been finger-printed and half of guns licensed for private use by individuals have been finger-printed.  

In total, as of last month, 67,321 firearms had been finger-printed.
The team tasked to finger-print the guns had also aimed to cover the military, but they ended the exercise last year without doing so.
Brig Flavia Byekwaso, the Defence and military spokesperson, on Wednesday said she had no information about planned finger-printing of guns and could not explain the lack of progress.

The army, according to its size and its dispersed nature of operations in and outside the country, renders its personnel in different branches to possess the highest number of firearms. In addition, it has multiple intelligence agencies whose members also carry guns, both for operations and self-protection.
A highly-placed security source, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the military was concerned that State opponents with access to the finger-printed firearm database, and working in concert with enemies of Uganda, could frame the country and its armed personnel over external missions.

Culled from Daily Monitor.

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