Local leaders in Kasese District want the government to revive local vigilante groups to address the threats imposed by the Allied Democratic Forces-ADF rebels.
They are also asking for basic military training to help them escape and engage the enemy in case of any attack. This comes a few days after suspected members of the rebel group killed two foreign tourists and their Ugandan tour guide and later set their vehicle ablaze.
The attack followed a series of other incidents in which suspected rebels of the ADF attacked and killed people. In June they attacked Mpondwe-Lhubiriha Secondary School resulting in the loss of 43 lives, including 37 students.
Nyakiyumbu Sub-county chairperson Sunday Peter Kakule says that the idea of having local vigilantes would work best for them due to the several porous border points that the suspected rebels have taken advantage of to attack local communities in Kasese.
He says during the 1996 ADF insurgencies, the village vigilante groups were key informants to the security personnel. He was speaking during a stakeholders meeting held in Mpondwe Lhubiriha Town Council.
Similarly, Nyakatonzi Sub-county Chairperson Steven Mbera noted that many sub-counties don’t have security posts while those in existence are inadequately staffed.
Bwera Sub-county Chairperson Gregory Limbo says that the group can work alongside police to keep watch and ensure security, especially during the night. He also asks security forces to work with leaders in mobilizing the community to be vigilant and have items such as whistles to raise alarm in case of attacks.
State Minister for Information and ICT Godfrey Kabyanga said that while he buys into the idea, the groups can, in the meantime, act as intelligence agents without being armed. He believes the army is still strong enough to deal with any insurgency in the country.
Kasese Resident District Commissioner Lt Joe Walusimbi cautioned area politicians against politicizing the security situation in the area. He has also tasked all LC III leaders to produce monthly reports from their local meetings to assist in compiling national security reports.