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Iron bar hit-men renew attacks on Gulu motorcyclists

Boda-boda transport has become a substantial source of income for improved livelihoods to thousands of youths in many parts of Uganda – Photo by Dominic Ochola

Gulu, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT |  Boda boda riders in Gulu district have decried the renewed wave of insecurity orchestrated by motorcycle robbers. The assailants target riders with new motorbikes, especially at night.   The assailants have waged deadly attacks on motorists resulting into grievous injuries, deaths and loss of motorcycles. At least seven riders have fallen victim to the robbers in the past 10 days.

Ezekiel Emitu, the Aswa River Region Police Commander- RPC, says the latest victim of the attacks is 29-year-old Benedict Okumu. He was hit with a blunt object on August 25th, 2019. He succumbed to the injuries he sustained in the attack at St. Mary’s Hospital Lacor on August 31.

He was laid to rest on Monday September 3, 2019. His cousin, David Okema, says Okumu was attacked by two assailants hit Okumu along Mama Café Road in Pece Division before they made off with his Bajaj motorbike registration number UEX 474G.

Two other motorists identified as Denis Okello and Innocent Kony were also attacked last months and their motorcycle stolen. In total, more than 20 motorcycles have been stolen since the beginning of this year. Patrick Odong, a Boda-boda rider told URN that the tricksters have lately resorted to approaching naive night riders using women to lure them.

Ronald Rubangakene, another rider faults the riders for giving their motorcycles to their friends at night without precaution and spend time in betting shops.

Patrick Odong Otule, says in 2018 he survived death by a whisker after unknown man and woman hired him from a local pub in town to ride them to Laroo Division where he was left for dead and his bike stolen.   The bike was recovered three months after. Victor Ahabwe, the Aswa River Region Deputy Police Public Relations Officer, says no arrests have been made.

He however, says police have stepped up vigilance through night operations and community policing programs to curb the vice. Ahabwe emphasized that while boda-boda transport has become a substantial source of income for thousands of youths in Gulu and neighboring districts, the riders must ensure personal security and safety while transporting strangers at night.    



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