MAJ. GEN LOKECH (56) TO BE BURIED TODAY ;THE LIFE AND TIMES OF ‘THE LION OF MOGADISHU’

The remains of the deputy Inspector General of Police, Maj Gen Paul Lokech will be interred today at Baibir Village, Ludele parish, Pader Town Council, in Pader District.

The burial will be with full honors from the police, while the gun salute will be presented by the UPDF. The pall bearers are UPDF officers at the rank of Major General, while the sword bearers are police officers at the rank of Commissioner.

The former Commandant of the Uganda Rapid Deployment Capability Centre in Jinja- ascended to the deputy IGP role on December 15, 2020 after he was appointed by President Museveni during a tense electoral season.

The life and Times of Gen. Lockech the ‘ Lion of Mogadishu’

He died of a blood clot at the rank of Major General, in the Uganda People’s Defense Forces (UPDF). Lokech who’s much known for military service was appointed Deputy Inspector General of Police of the Uganda Police Force on 16 December 2020.

He replaced Maj. Gen Stephen Muzeeyi Sabiiti. Sabiiti was appointed to deputize Martin Okoth Ochola on March 4, 2018, when Museveni sacked the then IGP Gen Edward Kale Kayihura and elevated Ochola who was his deputy to IGP.

Lokech was an eloquent man when he spoke the reason why he was loved by the media when he served as the Commander of the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM), forces in the heat of the Mogadishu battles. this eloquence seemed to have been passed over to his grown up children who gave moving eulogies of their beloved dad at the funeral service . the children are brainy too – with two of them – masters holders.

At the battlefield, Lokech understands situations and took quick action to avert battlefield disasters. He was always a calm man a virtue that helped him to make measured decisions. 

Maj. Gen Paul Lokech served the Uganda People’s Defense Forces (UPDF), in various leadership capacities.

Lokech made two tours, as the Commander of the Uganda contingent to Somalia, part of the AMISOM peacekeeping force. The first tour was between 2011 and 2012.  His second Somalia rotation was from 2017 until 2018. 

In his first tour, Lokech commanded Battle Groups Eight and Nine, responsible for defeating the marauding  Al- Shabaab militants in Mogadishu – 2011.

Before his second tour in Somalia, he was the Commanding Officer of the Second UPDF Division, based at Makenke Barracks, in Mbarara, in the Western Region of Uganda.  Lokech also served as the Military Attache’ at Uganda’s Embassy to Russia, based in Moscow .

He served as part of Uganda’s peace-keeping forces in South Sudan. He was deployed in November 2019. Gen Lokech was sent to South Sudan to monitor on behalf of the guarantors, screening, demobilization and integration of the armed forces of South Sudan.  

Lokech was part of Operation Safe Haven (OSH), a UPDF operation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo intended to neutralize the rebel Allied Democratic Forces (ADF), then commanded by now incarcerated Jamil Mukulu. Loketch would later command his force to return to Uganda from the jungles of Dr. Congo on foot a-a journey that took them three months and were welcomed at the Border in Mpondwe in Kasese by the Commander in Chief General Yoweri Kaguta Museveni.

He was the chief of staff of Uganda People’s Defense Forces (UPDF).

Maj. Gen Lokech served as Chief of Staff of the UPDF Air Force, for five months. That’s from 11 July 2019, until 11 December 2019. Before that, Lokech was the Commandant of Uganda Rapid Development Capability Centre (URDCC), in Jinja, the eastern part of Uganda from December 2018 until July 2019.

Lokech became Major General in February 2019, when President Yoweri Museveni promoted over 2,000 men and women to various ranks in the UPDF. 

Maj. Gen Lokech joined the then National Resistance Army (NRA), which was later renamed Uganda People’s Defense Forces (UPDF) on 1st February 1987.

After his training, he was quickly called to battle. As a major, he commanded the 65th UPDF Battalion in Kisangani during the DR. Congo war in 2001.

After the fighting in DR. Congo, UPDF units had to withdraw back home. Nonetheless, logistics could not allow for a quick withdraw. The Ugandan border was a whole 700km away and the only option available for the soldiers was to walk the distance through extremely rough terrain or stay forever in DR. Congo.

Some soldiers were scared, but Lokech decided to walk the UPDF force back to Uganda. The precarious journey took three months and triumphantly, the unit that included several T-55 battle tanks was received by President Yoweri Museveni in Kasese. 

Lokech has a name in the history books of the UPDF.

In June 2011, while on assignment in Somalia, Lokech launched his first major offensive, capturing areas that were far behind Bakara market and Mogadishu stadium, which was the main operations base of the militants. He later called this manoeuvre ‘the pincher’.

The battle was tough. “The militants defended every inch, every corner, every tunnel, every building and every stretch of the territory they controlled in Mogadishu,” Lokech would later explain .

After a while, the militants withdrew from Bakara, and again Lokech launched another operation, which he dubbed Operation Free Mogadishu and the militants ran away from their positions, after incurring heavy casualties.

Lokech served as AMISOM contingent commander until 2012. He was again in Somalia between 2017 and 2018 as contingent commander. 

He previously served at the Uganda Mission in Russia and a division commander before his assignment in Somalia.  Lokech also served as air force chief of staff.

Maj Gen Lokech was deployed at the Uganda Police force with a wealth of experience in leadership, administration and command.

Because of his relentless confrontation with Al Shabaab insurgents and capturing key historical places like the Red Mosque in Somalia’s capital Mogadishu, the then Brigadier Lokech was nicknamed the ‘Lion of Mogadishu.’

Controversy

Maj. Gen Lokech was briefly held by Police after an alleged confrontation with a senior traffic police officer, Ruth Kyobungi along Namugongo Road, Kira Municipality in Wakiso District. 

Trouble started when ASP Kyobutungi stopped and reprimanded Lokech for driving on the road shoulder during the traffic jam near Club Agenda 2000 entertainment centre towards 7 pm.

The general lost his cool, slapping the female traffic commander. The Kampala Metropolitan Police Commander Moses Kafeero intervened to solve the matter as ASP Kyobutungi who had threatened to sue the General Lokech.

He was released without a charge but cautioned to respect traffic police officers something he reportedly acknowledged.

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