President Yoweri Museveni of Uganda on Monday issued guidelines on the arrest
of suspects and the handling of rowdy crowds amid complaints over growing misconduct by security operatives.
In a letter to the heads of security agencies made public, Museveni said beating, shouting at suspects while
arresting them is only acceptable in extreme cases.
He said a rowdy crowd should be advised or be restrained if people are trying to go to an area where they
are not supposed to be.
“Restraining members of the public from accessing certain areas can also involve barriers or ropes,” he said.
In case of dealing with rioters, security agencies should use water canons, Museveni said.
“I think the use of water cannons is the best way — it is strong, non-lethal and not noisy; tear-gas,
rubber bullets should be discouraged because they are noisy and, sometimes, they can affect
unconcerned people,” he said.
Museveni said the police can also use shields and batons to disperse hostile crowds.
The president said in case the rioters fail to heed police warning, then live bullets can be used,
first firing in the air.
“If the rioters persist, the police will fire directly at the rioters to protect the lives and property of
the law-abiding citizens or protect themselves from the rioters,” he said.
“Uganda has been stable for a long time. It will remain stable. Therefore, nobody should be allowed to threaten
life, property or orderliness in Uganda,” he added.
Yoweri Museveni said shooting at rioters is legally acceptable under certain circumstances.
The guidelines followed public concerns over alleged misconduct of security operatives when dealing with
suspects and riots.
Security forces recently came into the spotlight after the brutal arrest of a suspect who was later charged
with terrorism but released on police bond.
A video clip that went viral showed security operatives hitting a suspect with gun butts before he was shoved
into a waiting vehicle with forged number plates.