LDU recruit dies during drills in Masindi

Cpl Denis Ochola, the UPDF instructor in charge of Bunyoro sub-region speaks to the press at Masindi Field Artillery Division barracks as Local Defence Unit (LDU) recruits sit listening. (Photo: Moses Andama)

A 29-year-old Local Defence Unit (LDU) recruit, Stewart Abitegeka, has died after undergoing a running exercise in Masindi army barracks, reveals Brig Gen Frank Kyambadde.

Abitegeka, a resident of Kisanja Village in Labongo Sub-county, Masindi District collapsed and died during the climax of the four day recruitment exercise for LDU personnel that has been going on countrywide.

Brig Kyambadde, who is the in charge of the LDU personnel recruitment exercise for Bunyoro sub-region told reporters in Masindi army barracks that the deceased collapsed on the pitch after a 2km-run.

He said medics tried to resuscitate Abitegeka, but all in vain.

The army officer who is also the Masindi Field Artillery Division Deputy Commandant said medics could not rule out Abitegeka having developed a heart problem that claimed his life hastening to add that an ultimate communication will be made after a postmortem report is released.

“It is unfortunate we have lost him. We never expected this to happen. He died here at the playground after completing the exercise.” Brig Gen Kyambadde commiserated.

The fighter said the deceased’s family members including his father, a Uganda People’s Defence Forces (UPDF) soldier working with the Chieftaincy of Military Intelligence (CMI) have been informed of the death of their relative.

More than 30 people failed medical examination to be enlisted into the Unit, the army said.

Speaking about the same matter, Cpl Denis Ochola, the instructor in charge of Bunyoro sub-region said the deceased was one of the first 30 people out of more than 70 who had completed the exercise since he had reached at the playground from running.

“Before they started running, they were told that it was not competition but a warm up so that upon diagnosis, the army doctors could easily detect any sickness anybody had once they went for medical checkup.”

Adding: “Upon reaching the playground, Abitegeka collapsed and raised his hands up. This forced me to rush to him and I called the doctors only to be pronounced dead within five minutes. The last word I heard the deceased say was that a big snake was coming towards him ready to bite.”

By the time of this publication, Abitegeka’s body was being taken to Masindi General Hospital for an autopsy.

Notwithstanding, Brig Kyambadde said the army got 90 per cent of the targeted people to be recruited into the Unit disclosing that out of 641 people the force wanted, 520 were got.

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