The investigators of violent crime incidents that have rocked Greater Kampala Metropolitan Area since the start of this year have cited military and police officers as collaborators of criminals that have left scores robbed, injured and sometimes killed.
Kampala and its neighbourhoods have recorded syndicated, sophisticated and individual armed robberies and shootings majorly between the months of April and August. Some of the major incidents in which police officers and soldiers have been cited include armed night roadblocks, Mukono robberies and burglaries targeting electronics.
A senior security officer who is also one of the commanders of the violent crimes crack unit cited an example of two police officers who were arrested in June in the Kampala metropolitan south region after they were suspected to be right-hand men of wanted robber Juma Otto alias Abdulaziz Nsubuga alias Farouq Tomusange.
Otto was killed by crime intelligence operatives along Entebbe road nearly three months ago but he had been on the wanted list since 2020. Otto was put on the wanted list after investigations indicated that he masterminded the robbery of 300million Shillings from Somali national Mohammad Ahmed at Equatorial Hotel.
“Otto never had any permanent residence, he had no mobile phone and he had no known family,” a senior security officer said. “But for the two years we were searching for him, his mobile phones were our very own police officers’. The moment we arrested them, they led us to his newest rented house in Kyeyagalire zone and we killed him on the spot.”
Before his demise, Otto and his group had according to security sources, successfully robbed over 1billion Shillings. This includes 400million Shillings robbed from Lee Yin Tang, a Chinese businessman along Nkrumah road and Kushamohan Konnakutty, an Indian businessman was robbed of 100,000 euros at the Jinja Road Traffic junction.
Security has also noticed that some of the illegal roadblocks in the night hours have been conducted by soldiers. Police Spokesperson Fred Enanga, cites an example of six rogue LDU soldiers who were apprehended five days ago after they staged an armed robbery at Kyoga Swamp, Namusera parish, Wakiso sub county in Wakiso district.
Enanga identified the soldiers as Said Ayume, Mathew Aguma, Irikar Adiya, Siraje Luyima, Julius Oroboro and Steven Tambara. These allegedly stopped businessman George Turahabwa whom they robbed of an unspecified amount of money and mobile phones. These soldiers were arrested with the help of sniffer dogs that tracked them up to their military detach in Namusera.
In Mukono municipality, the 13 robberies that made headlines between May and July are attributed to two soldiers who allegedly hired out their guns to robbers. Violent crime investigators have since established that even the gun that was stolen from a private security company was not connected to any of the bullet cartridges collected from the robbery scenes.
“This Mukono gang was headed by a one Kennedy but he fled the country as we hunted down the entire group,”a senior security commander said. All leads show the guns belonged to soldiers but we haven’t recovered any of them.”
Following the Mukono robberies that led to the arrest of several suspects including a businessman Zziwa who deals in electronics at one of the buildings opposite Usafi market, two police officers allegedly offered 8 million to secure his release.
“They brought Shs8m for us to release this Zziwa,” a senior security officer said. “We decided to arrest them. This shows you that some of our own officers are part and parcel of these gangs. Imagine a police officer bringing money to secure a criminal.”
The northern bypass thugs that threw bricks and pavers to drivers in order to rob them as well machete attacks in Namungoona, Bulenga-Kikaaya, Nansana, and Kyengera have allegedly been coordinated by serving and retired soldiers or police officers.
Moses Katumba, the Kikaaya zone chairman said recently that he was being targeted by gangs allegedly supported by police and LDUs after he revealed that they were behind the May machete attacks in which one person was killed. However, Patrick Onyango, the Kampala police spokesperson refuted Katumba’s assertions saying he was just stopped by locals and a security team that was conducting a night patrol.