Local leaders and residents of Kabonero Sub County in Kabarole district are skeptical about the efficiency of the community policing programme in the area. Community policing was introduced in the sub county following the killing of seven people last month in ethnic clashes between Batooro and Bakonzo.
The dead included two police officers and five residents. The killings prompted Asuman Mugenyi, the Director of Operations in Uganda Police Force to visit the area and launch a community policing program. Under community policing, the police is supposed to work with the local leaders and community members to prevent crime and promote better relations between the two parties.
However, the leaders argue that police has done little to ensure residents feel safe. When Uganda Radio Network reporter visited Bukara village, the scene of the attacks, some residents were yet to return to their homes. Business was also low in Nyarugongo trading center. John Kyaligonza, the LCIII Chairperson Kabonero Sub County, says despite relative peace in the area, some residents in the area still fear to go back to their homes for fear of being attacked.
Kyaligonza says that there are unknown people who move at night in the area causing fear among the residents. He also says that residents need to be educated about the intention of community policing.
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Moses Abigaba, the LCI Chairperson Bukara Village notes that if residents are to actively participate in the programme, Police should act swiftly and investigate the information given to them by residents. He says that police has remained silent on reports of illegal meetings taking place in the area.
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David Isingoma, a resident of Bukara village says that the police has focused more on deploying in the area, but not investigating what could have caused the deaths last month. However Lydia Tumushabe, the Rwenzori Region Police Spokesperson asked the leaders to appreciate the work of police.
She explains that the fact that there haven't been fresh attacks in the area since last month, its proof that the programme will be a success. She says that police will continue to educate the communities on how to be vigilant all the time for other forms of crime or insecurity and also engage with the public and to get them to be more proactive in detecting and reporting potential criminals to the force.
In 2014, community policing was introduced in Kasese, Bundibugyo and Ntoroko district to avert further ethnic clashes. The campaign came in the wake of attacks, which claimed the lives of 90 people.