The Masindi Resident District Commissioner (RDC), Mr Martin Mugabi, has warned security agencies against brutalising and extorting money from the public while enforcing the Covid-19 directives in the district.
Mr Mugabi’s warning follows a public outcry that security officials in the district are allegedly mistreating and extorting money from people while enforcing the presidential directives on curfew to slow down the spread of corona virus.
Addressing journalists at his office on Tuesday, the RDC said that his office is awash with complaints from people from different walks of life including motorcyclists accusing security personnel of purportedly demanding money from them on arrest and also assaulting them during curfew time.
Mr Mugabi advised anybody who was mistreated by security personnel while enforcing Covid-19 restrictions to lodge their complaints to his and other relevant offices for justice to prevail.
“I condemn those [police officers] who want to use the lockdown to extort money from people. Motorcycle riders are crying out that when police officers arrest them, they demand for money. As security committee, we shall not tolerate that at all. I tell you people of Masindi that the RDC’s office and other offices are meant to help you. If you call us, we shall definitely help you in case of any need. Otherwise, we shall not allow anybody who wants to use that [Covid-19] situation to plunder people’s property,” he stressed.
The RDC reminded security agencies of their role to keep law and order and to protect the citizens and their properties but not harming them.
He advised the law enforcement officers to be rational in the execution of their duty so they can analyse the situation before arresting people during curfew time adding that such a dimension will guide them against apprehending anybody who might be essential workers.
“The work of the police is to enforce the law. We are receiving reports that there are some police officers using excessive force. That is not acceptable. Police officers should do their work professionally. Secondly, it does not even require someone to have a PhD to internalise a situation whether someone has broken the law intentionally or not for our people to be helped,” Mr Mugabi said.
However, Mr Mugabi advised the public to abide by the Covid-19 guidelines and directives in order to avoid being inconvenienced by the law enforcers.