Uganda People’s Defense Forces-UPDF has stepped up security in Zombo district. This comes almost a week after a group of men armed with machetes, arrows and bows raided a UPDF detach in Zombo town council killing five soldiers and injuring two others.
The attackers also torched nine huts and looted three guns before fleeing. On Tuesday evening, UPDF ferried additional soldiers into the district, according security sources. The soldiers are currently stationed in Warr Sub-county, some 15 kilometers from Zombo town council, the epicenter of the Friday morning attack.
The Fourth Infantry Division spokesperson, Maj. Caesar Olweny confirmed to URN on Thursday afternoon the additional troop deployment in the district. He says the soldiers will help beef security within the district and ensure that what happened on their military installation never reoccurs.
“It’s true we have beefed up deployment in Zombo this week. This is however not only going to be for Zombo only but country wide in areas we deem could be prune to such attacks to avoid its repeat. Security for the people is our core responsibility that we cannot compromise,” Maj Olweny said.
Maj Olweny notes that two more suspects have been picked up in the district and are in custody in Paidha Town council, bringing the number of suspects so far arrested in connection to the attack to 30. He says 27 suspects already at the Fourth Infantry Division headquarters are undergoing interrogation to help in establishing more facts on the raid.
Local leaders in the area have welcomed the additional UPDF deployment, saying it has been long overdue. They say the area has had low security deployment over the years, which made it easier for criminals to manipulate security. Zombo Town Council for instance has been relying on only two police officers with about 13 UPDF soldiers manning security for an estimated 15,000 people.
Charles Munguryek, the Warr Sub-county LC III Chairperson, says the additional security personnel will help restore confidence among locals who had been thrown into panic. Col, Jackson Kayanja, the West Nile Region Brigade Commander currently commanding the operation in Zombo district told URN in an interview on Wednesday that all corners of the district had been secured.
He noted that with the help of the locals, the army made a breakthrough in identifying and arresting those suspected to have been part of the gang that attacked the detach. By the time URN visited the UPDF Detach in Oduk Village, Zombo Town Council, more than 20 soldiers were seen deployed in the area with heavy artillery mounted around the detach.
Raids on army detaches in the country are not new. In May 2016, unknown gunmen raided a UPDF detach in Opit trading center in Lakwana Sub-county, which was still part of Gulu district and killed two Local Defence Unit soldiers, looted guns and military Uniforms before fleeing away.