Uganda People’s Defence Forces [UPDF] spokesperson Lt. Col. Paddy Ankunda, has rejected a notion that soldiers are shooting people because they are stressed.
Soldiers have been shooting dead colleagues or civilians in different parts of the country and then killing themselves in the end.
“We can’t attribute shootings to post-deployment stress,” Ankunda said while appearing on NBS TV Monday.
“We never saw this when they withstood longer deployments.”
He said the army is training mental health officers to be deployed alongside every contingent headed to Somalia.
“It is unfortunate that some soldiers go amok but we shouldn’t look at these incidents as isolated.”
“We can’t analyse the psychology of our soldiers without looking at the communities where they come from.”
He said shootings don’t happen in Uganda alone citing a soldier in the U.S. who killed five police officers.
“Soldiers don’t fall from heaven. We don’t recruit from heaven but from communities. These are lone actors. These soldiers involved in shootings are lone actors. Let’s not mangle the entire UPDF image in their actions.”
He said UPDF welfare has improved.
“We hve had a slight increment to our salaries. Welfare is not the cause of these shootings. UPDF has the biggest SACCO in the country where solders get cheap loans. Question of welfare is not the cause.”
Ankunda also said he does not see any connection between the politics of the day and the shootings involving UPDF soldiers.
“I have never bought idea that President Museveni lost at stations where soldiers voted. Majority of voters there were civilians.”
He said the military has maintained a high level of cohesiveness.
“Even when a general dissents, the UPDF remains intact. We are not going to allow a failing order in this country. UPDF’s cohesion has kept the political cohesion in Uganda.”
He said the arrests of some officers have been made because the country can’t allow UPDF’s cohesion to be broken.