The Inspector General of Police (IGP), Mr Martins Okoth-Ochola, has denied claims by the former Security minister Henry Tumukunde that police is tagging Muslims to insecurity.
Speaking to the media for the first time since he was sacked as minister of Security in March, Maj Gen Tumukunde said Muslims should not be profiled or targeted for the rising crime in the country, including reported threats posed by the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) rebel group.
He said he fought terrorist groups at the turn of the century, many of which he said were championed by the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF), which was led by Jamil Mukulu, who claimed to be fighting for Islam, but that he never victimised Muslims.
Gen Tumukunde’s comments came in the context when a big number of suspects arrested for hard core crimes, including terrorism and kidnap, are Muslims, and the police recently raided a mosque near Usafi market and arrested scores of people.
“It is just about how leaders manage situations; I do not think Muslims need to be victimised by [any one] for any reason. Everyone knows it was a very complicated operation [against ADF], but I was very methodical at putting blame where it lay.
I expect this of any other leader,” Gen Tumukunde told this newspaper last week in reference to his tenure as Chief of Military Intelligence and later as Internal Security Orgainsation (ISO) director general at the turn of the century, when he had to battle ADF.
However, the police boss Ochola, while addressing the media at Rwizi region police headquarters in Mbarara on Friday, was keen to press the point that the police are not targeting Muslims.
“You see, committing a crime is not limited to a single faith; any person belonging to any faith can commit a crime. So there is no way if a Muslim commits a crime we say no, there was no crime committed [because they will say we victimise Muslims]. So, that is the bottom line,’ Mr Ochola said.
Despite the spiralling insecurity, with dozens of people, especially relatively young women, abducted and at least eight killed by the kidnappers, who also demand for ransom from the affected families, Mr Ochola insisted that the police are in charge of the situation.
“It is not that police is failing, actually we are on top of the situation. The number of victims we have rescued are more than those who have been murdered.
The number of suspects we have taken to court are very many but because the journalists do not report that positive aspect of the police, the society is not informed,” Mr Ochola said.