A total of 80 rangers have been commissioned to constitute Uganda Wildlife Authority’s first ever Intelligence Unit to prevent and crack down on the illegal activities against wildlife in and outside the protected areas of Uganda.
This follows a four month intensive training for the staff at the School of Military Intelligence and Security (SOMI) in Fort Portal Kabarole District which came closely after another four and a half months basic military training course in Murchison Falls National Park.
Uganda’s Deputy Chief of Defense Forces (DCDF) Lt. General Charles Angina presided over the pass out function on August 30th,2013.
Speaking at the pass out ceremony, Lieutenant General Charles Angina applauded UWA for visionary leadership in establishing an intelligence unit which will prevent illegal crimes against wildlife before they occur. He stressed aid the conservation agency had existed since the time it was under Uganda National Parks but none had come up with such a beautiful idea.
“Uganda did not start yesterday. But the current progressive leadership to have come up with this excellent initiative shows excellent management and vision for the fast developing industry,” he remarked amidst cheers from the trainees, instructors and UWA senior managers present.
The DCDF said there is no doubt that tourism sector is the second leading foreign exchange earner for the country and had to be guarded jealously against the wrong elements especially poachers. He told the trainees who had spent four months in the training covering the areas of Security intelligence, counter intelligence, Operational intelligence, Criminal intelligence, General intelligence, reconnaissance and political education that “I have no doubt that you have grasped the most important areas of how to get information, process it and ultimately the ball is in your court to ensure it does not remain just in theory but put into practice so that those who have been surviving on being poachers lose appetite because we have brought in additional means of dealing with that problem”.
Uganda Wildlife Authority Executive Director Dr. Andrew Seguya said the main constraint has been gathering necessary information and was happy that with new intelligence unit that gap will be bridged. He appealed to the members of legal fraternity to cooperate with UWA in dealing with illegal activities.
The commandant of Muhoti School of Military Intelligence, Lt Col Medard Mugambe, said the rangers have been equipped with skills of operational intelligence, counter intelligence, criminal investigations, and evidence gathering among others.
Later, the chief guest presided over awarding of prizes to the best performing students namely Ms Jaddress Komugasho, as the best overall student, Fred Safari as the best in class, Walter Otto emerged the best in field activities and Ali Wasagali was awarded for being the most active.
The function was attended by the Commissioner for Wildlife Mr. James Lutalo who represented the Permanent secretary Ministry of Tourism, Wildlife and Antiquities, the UPDF chief of Military intelligence Brigadier Charles Bakahumura, UWA Board of Trustees chairman’s representative Captain Emily Otekat, the school commandant Lt. Colonel Medard Bagambe, UWA Law Enforcement Coordinator Colonel Charles Tusiime and other UWA senior staff.