At least 160 police officers, who were part of the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) and were deployed in December 2020, have expressed concern over the handling of their benefits payment.
Their deployment followed a six-month intensive pre-deployment training course at Kigo, Wakiso District, where they were prepared for their roles in the Formed Police Unit (FPU).
Their main tasks involved carrying out police operations, managing public order, and protecting African Union personnel and facilities.
Despite serving the AU mandate for 13 months, these officers claim to have received payment for only three months of their service, and the remaining benefits have not been paid to them even though more than a year has passed since they returned in 2022.
Frustrated by unsuccessful attempts to address the issue through the police hierarchies, the officers have turned to the Office of the Leader of Opposition in Parliament (LOP), Mathias Mpuuga, by submitting a petition.
Preliminary investigations conducted by the LOP indicate that the AU had already disbursed the payment for these officers, but it seems that someone else has received the money, casting doubt on the integrity of Uganda’s security and defense mission abroad.
Mpuuga strongly condemned the fraudulent acts against the uniformed officers, emphasizing that such actions cause distress and lower the morale of these personnel in serving the public.
He intends to present the petition in the House to initiate an investigation into the matter.
Drawing comparisons with the frequent reports of armed robberies in schools, supermarkets, and homes, the LOP called for a comprehensive evaluation of Uganda’s continued deployment of both UPDF and police personnel in Somalia under AMISOM, which has been ongoing for 12 years.
Furthermore, Mpuuga criticized the poor welfare conditions of security personnel during foreign missions, highlighting that they often go for several months without pay and have to operate in challenging environments.
This situation is in stark contrast to the internal insecurity faced by Uganda, such as cattle raids.
It is noted that the current crime patterns in the country are linked to indiscipline within security personnel, including deserters from state and private security forces, who set up illegal roadblocks, lead organized criminal gangs, and supply trained assassins, among other activities.
Uganda was the first East African country to deploy police officers into the mission area in 2010. This initial deployment consisted of 201 police officers, including 140 Formed Police Units, 60 Individual Police Officers, and 1 Senior Leadership Team officer.