Police: Private security firms use fake guns

The Uganda Police has recalled more than 400 guns form private security companies for examination.

Grace Matsiko, Chairperson Uganda Private Security Association (TUPSA), says that police recalled their guns to review their functionality in terms of fire discharge and emission identification.

Although Matsiko said police took their guns in good faith, he said they were yet to get feedback for over three months and were in suspense on what could have been found wrong with their firearms.

Acting Commissioner Private Security and Firearms, Apollo Kateeba, says that the guns are in police custody had faulty issues.

Kateeba said some guns were too old to be in use because their ammunition had ceased being manufactured.

“We had issues with private security companies, sometimes they would deploy their guards [who are not] fine and at the end of the day, we would have so many incidences happening. We thought of ways of minimizing the incidences first of all by giving the private guards a test firing exercise during which we found some guns to be malfunctional, they couldn’t fire or were too old and their ammunition couldn’t easily be found,” Kateeba said.

It all started when Uganda Police Force- UPF, Internal Security Organisation (ISO) and Uganda People’s Defence Forces (UPDF) following President Yoweri Museveni’s directive, launched a fingerprinting exercise of all guns in the country.

Museveni, in his address to the nation about the state of security in the country in June last year, ordered that all guns in Uganda be fingerprinted as part of security master plan to contain kidnaps and killings.

The order came barely two weeks after the assassination of Arua Municipality MP Col Ibrahim Abiriga.

A joint security team launched guns fingerprinting in April. At least close to 16,000 guns with private security companies were fingerprinted. However, during the exercise, over 400 guns were found to be of substandard and were immediately recalled.

Matsiko said they were still patient to get feedback from Uganda police since they often hire guns from the same force or buy them from companies that import guns and closely monitored by government agencies like defence ministry.

Police said it was too risky for the guards to be deployed without functioning guns. In scenarios of attacks by armed thugs, the guards could not be in position to defend themselves.

Kateeba said police would hand back guns which have been repaired and those that no longer fit for use will be destroyed.

Police and Internal Affairs Ministry records last released in 2016 showed 16,000 guns were in private security companies. 7000 guns were from private companies licensed to import guns while 9000 had been hired from Uganda police force.