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Infighting Brings Anti-Terrorism Force To Its Knees

Fighting for offices, money and cars is at the centre of the recent disbandment of civilian operatives linked to the Joint Anti-Terrorism Task Force (JATT).

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Fighting for offices, money and cars is at the centre of the recent disbandment of civilian operatives linked to the Joint Anti-Terrorism Task Force (JATT).

JATT is an anti-terrorism organization under the Chieftainancy of Military Intelligence – CMI that brings together Police, Internal Security Organisation (ISO), External Security Organisation (ESO) and Military Intelligence.

However, ever since Major General James Mugira was moved away, Brigadier Charles Bakahumura who replaced him has since embarked on what he called a cleaning exercise that has seen a number of officers moved away from JATT.

A source close to JATT accused Brigadier Bakahumura of running down the organization that has resulted into the abandonment of operatives.

A big number of civilian operatives working under JATT were formerly in the rebel ADF ranks and were being paid 100,000 shillings.

The source added that ever since Major General Mugira left; the operatives have been abandoned by their heads of departments who sign for money and use it to run personal errands. 

He explained that some of the operatives who had each been given a sub machine gun and a pistol have since been withdrawn.

The source explained that right now the body does not have surveillance teams, investigations teams in place in case terrorists were to hit the country.

Army and defense spokesperson Col Felix Kulayigye suspects that the withdrawal of the fire arms from the civilian operatives could explain the murder of Shiekh Abdu Karim Sentamu and others who were former ADF members. Ssentamu was shot dead by unknown assailants in April this year. Two months later in June, another Muslim cleric, Muhammad Abubaker Kiweewa was also killed just outside Kampala.

 

Two more Muslim leaders have since been gunned down though it is not clear whether the killings are linked to the infighting at JATT. On the eve of Eid on August 18th, the Imam of Masigid Umar Mosque in Bugiri district, Sheikh Yunusu Mudungu Abubakari and his brother in –law Sheikh Muhammad Maganda, were sprayed with bullets as they left the mosque after prayers. Sheikh Abubakar died on the spot while his colleague is still in hospital.

On the night of Saturday August 25, Sheikh Hussein Jjunju, a prominent businessman in Lwebitakuli Town Council in Semabule district was shot by unknown people who reportedly went to his shop at night pretending to be clients.

Kulayigye, however, remained guarded on the fate of JATT operatives. He defended Bakahumura’s action saying every manager wants to put his own system in place and did not see anything wrong with the Brigadier’s management style.

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Kulayigye too could not rule out the fact that these former ADF rebels could be the ones turning their guns on the Sheikhs who they were formerly hired to protect.

Kulayigye warned that these operatives should not try to see themselves as indispensable and create an impression that the country was in eminent danger.

The army spokesperson said terrorism was still alive in the country and therefore nobody would disband JATT.

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Officers like Major Dominic Ddamulira and Major Charles Asiimwe have since been sent away from JATT in the fight. 

This comes just two days after police announced that at least two suspected al shabaab terrorists have entered the country. On Saturday, Police publicist Simon Kutesa told the media that Abdul Malim and Abdul Gadusi Haji Dahir, are part of a team of seven terrorists dispatched from Somalia to carry out attacks in Uganda.

Five more terrorists are believed to be hiding in Kenya according to police. In June this year, Khaled Mueller, another suspected terrorist was reported by police to have entered Uganda aboard a Kalita Bus from Nairobi, but was later arrested in Tanzania.

The al shabaab militants are believed to have carried out the July 11, 2010 attacks in Kampala in which at least 79 people died and several others were injured.

Uganda is contributing the bulk of the 17,000-strong African Union force fighting the al shabaab militants in Somalia. Kenya, Burundi and Djibouti are the other countries. Ethiopia is also maintaining troops in the war-torn country but not as part of the African Union.

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