“We Use Private Number Plates in Covert Operations” – Police on Bajjo Arrest

Police spokesperson, CP Fred Enaga addressing reporters at Naguru Police headquarters.

Police have justified the use by its personnel of a vehicle bearing private number plates identical to those of a vehicle once used by Deputy IGP Maj Gen Sabiiti Muzeyi, during the recent arrest of music promoter ‘Bajjo’, saying this is common practice during tactical operations that are covert in nature.

Social media was over the weekend awash with photos showing a van in which events promoter Andrew Mukasa also known as Bajjo Events was transported upon his arrest last week.

The van bears private number plates (UAT 511C) which are identical to those of a Toyota Land Cruiser that was last year used by the Deputy Inspector General of Police, Maj Gen Sabiiti Muzeyi.

Enanga said Bajjo was arrested by personnel attached to the Presidential Police Unit, given the nature of the offence for which he was apprehended. He is being detained at the Special Investigations Unit in Kireka.

The Police spokesperson told reporters in Monday that Bajjo was arrested for allegedly posting social media videos in which he was “glorifying violence”.

“The Police Special Investigations Division under CID has taken over inquiries in the case of incitement of violence through social media by Bajjo,” Enanga said during a news conference.

In the said video, Enanga said, Bajjo used Luganda language to make comments in which he warns President Yoweri Museveni of plans to oust him before 2021.

“He further warns the military of similar plans to oust the President and indicates with confidence how he has people backing him towards this plot,” Enanga said.

Enanga said that by doing so, Bajjo risked being charged with treason, and inciting violence. This is because the law protects the President as a democratically elected leader, Enanga added.

As such, the Police has warned the public against posting or sharing videos that glorify violence and using undemocratic means, saying this is an infringement on the law.

“We, therefore, advise the public not to share such videos. As law enforcement agencies, we shall work constructively with those stakeholders to ensure that they know the dangers of incitement of violence”.

Controversy around number plates

In the wake of Bajjo’s arrest, there has been an online debate with many questioning the legality of two motor vehicles possessing identical number plates. Others wondered why security personnel should use private number plates during an arrest.

But Enanga said on Monday that these number plates are used by security agencies whenever the situation demands so, in a bid “to achieve tactical results”.

He admitted that the same number plates were indeed used by the Deputy IGP in May 2018 while he was appearing before the Parliamentary appointments committee.

He however said Maj Gen Sabiiti Muzeyi has since been allocated an official Police vehicle “and now he has no attachment with those number plates”.

Enanga said the numbers plates are applied for by the different security agencies and are used for covert operations.

“But they are registered under the security agencies. They are used in tactical operations where you cant use the official number plates. And there is nobody claiming those number plates”.

In explaining the logic behind use of such number plates, Enanga said such a vehicle would not arouse suspicion from suspects during an arrest operation.

“We always use that to accomplish certain operational tasks. So, i don’t see any problem with that. Because somebody who knows he has committed a crime is always going to be on standby and every time they see a vehicle with official number plates, they will run away,” he said.

The investigations into the social media videos continue and we expect that by the end of today, the file will be forwarded to the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) for perusal.

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