Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | The Police have arrested 30 people, suspected to be members of a gang that has been terrorizing motorists and pedestrians along the Kampala Northern bypass.
They were netted in a joint operation conducted by police officers from Kira-Road, Kawempe, and Wandegeya Police stations, under the command of Kampala Metropolitan Police Commander Stephen Tanui. The operations that kicked off this week followed complaints about a group of thugs ambushing and assaulting people along the Northern bypass.
One of the reported incidents includes the recent attack and killing of Fred Nashmolo, a truck driver working with Tumwebaze Investments Limited, who was attacked at Lubigi near the National Water and Sewerage Corporation treatment plant. One of his colleagues Shem Ssenoga told police that a group of criminals armed with hammers and other blunt objects waylaid Nashmolo when he made a stopover to check a flat tyre.
A Police officer who is part of the operations said that Kyebando Police Post alone has responded to five incidents of motorists being attacked over the last week.
“In all these incidents, the criminals use pavers to smash car window screens. When the driver stops to see what has happened, that’s when they jump out and attack him. Those who resist surrendering their belongings are injured most of the time,” the officer said.
Luke Owoyesigyire, the Kampala Metropolitan Deputy Police spokesperson, says the Friday operation, brought to 40, the number of suspected criminals arrested so far.
He said some of the ringleaders who were arrested include Payike Ashraf, others only identified as Yasin, Shakim, and Muzafaru who were picked up in Kamwokya Kyamuka.
“We have some of the ring leaders, who have been robbing motorists in traffic jam using motorcycles to mug unsuspecting victims. They have been also targeting pedestrians and stealing all their belongings,” Owoyesigyire said.’
He says the operations will continue until criminals are eliminated from the bypass.
“We have received complaints about the rampant cases of vandalism of motor vehicles and attacks on persons along the northern by-pass, these operations will continue until we dismantle all the groups,” Owoyesigyire added.
A number of criminal gangs have previously operated in various parts of Kampala, most of them hiding in slum areas, where they target business people returning from work.
They include among others the famous Kifeesi, which was operating in Kampala and Mukono, Bad Life, B13, XOI, Happy Street and Naguru Arrow Boys.