Two Local Defence Unit (LDU) trainees have been killed and six others injured by a bomb that was fired by their colleagues during a training exercise in Ruhengyere, Mbarara District.
According to sources, the rocket propelled bomb hit the LDUs who had taken defensive positions in the training camp on Monday morning.
Military sources had earlier told Daily Monitor that four had died and “many were injured” but the army spokesperson, Brig Richard Karemire, said two died and six were injured.
“This is one of the accidents that happen when our personnel are training and it is unfortunate that they have lost their lives in the process. Two died and six are nursing injuries. We have informed their immediate relatives and we shall be responsible for the burial of these people,” Brig Karemire said.
It is not clear why the LDUs, who are recruited and trained to fight crime, would be using deadly rocket propelled grenades which are used during war.
“The bomb came from the opposite direction towards where the LDUs were training from. It went off and killed them and several were rushed to hospital where they are nursing injuries,” the sources said.
The sources also said the LDUs, who are trained by the UPDF, were about to end their six-month training.
“It has been a melancholic situation in the camp since the incident happened because everyone was looking forward to returning home. They will be missed because they did not deserve to die but God knows why it happened,” one source added.
In 2018, President Museveni ordered the recruitment and deployment of 24,000 LDUs in Kampala Metropolitan to fight crime after police officer Muhammad Kirumira was murdered in Nansana. But the recruitment was later expanded to all parts of the country. They have also been deployed in Rwenzori, Karamoja and Lango sub-regions.
Brig Karemire yesterday said they were taking matter “seriously” and would investigate further to find out how the incident happened.
“This is not the first time such incidents have happened. They are very sad situations and may the families of these people who died be strong in this trying time as they rest in peace,” he said.
In 2016, a would-be police recruit in Tororo District died after she was subjected to intense physical exercises during the recruitment process.
In January this year, three trainees; two female and one male died at Police Training School at Kabalye in Masindi District.