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Police in Lira intensify security operations ahead of festivities

Lira, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Security forces in Lira city have launched operations to rid Lira city of criminals who are currently disrupting peace especially during the coming festivities.

The operations started last week following the increase in the number of house break-ins, theft and people being way-laid. It is also aimed at arresting ring leaders of criminal gangs who could be used by terrorists to execute their plans.

By weekend, 88 suspects had been arrested from the areas of Te-atat, Tekulo Ojwina, Obutowelu and Kakoge, all in Lira city West division which is believed to be the hiding place for criminal gangs in Lira city.

Geoffrey Abigaba, the Lira District Police Commander who explained that the operations will continue up to next year says the suspects will be screened and charged before they are paraded before the court of law.

Abigaba appealed to the business people in Lira city to be vigilant over their security especially when they have money with them.

“We are encouraging our people to avoid carrying large sums of money in their pockets or wherever,” he said. “If you are carrying money from one point to another, use alternative means like putting it onto mobile money and you make the transactions when you reach, that way is safer.”

However, this operation has attracted mixed reactions from the members of the public including some local council leaders who feel that they have been left out.

Patrick Ojok, the LC1 chairperson of Wii-gweng village identifies only a single known thief among the five youths arrested from his area and as a result, Ojok is worried that the operation, if not done with the support of the local leaders might have good people arrested instead of the wrongdoers.

Geoffrey Owuni, the LCI chairperson of Ojwina quarters said the police will only succeed with the operation if the local council leaders are involved.

Meanwhile, Semmy Okoye, a food vendor at Te-atat is excited about the operation saying it will get rid of criminals especially street children who survive by stealing. She however wants government to construct a remand home in Lira where these children can be rehabilitated.

She also wants police to consider opening an outpost in the area because that is the base of criminal gangs.

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