At least 78 people suspected to be part of the racket that has been terrorizing motorists and pedestrians along the Northern bypass in Kampala are in police custody. They are currently locked up at Kira-road, Kawempe, Wandegeya, and Old Kampala police stations, under the command of Stephen Tanui, the Kampala Metropolitan Police commander.
The suspects were picked up in ongoing joint security operations aimed at cracking down on thugs targeting motorists and pedestrians along the Northern bypass. The operation stemmed from a public outcry against people ambushing both motorists and pedestrians.
The thugs have been smashing vehicle windscreens with pavers before robbing their victims of any valuables. Police spokesperson Fred Enanga says that by Sunday, they had netted 38 suspects in addition to another 40 arrested midweek.
He says that they have so far screened 60 suspects, who were found with a violent criminal background. The suspects were found in possession of rudimentary weapons and narcotic substances.
“Many of these gang members are youth aged between 14 and 25years. This is a popup crime gang, which we had in 2018. We had dismantled them and took several in courts of laws but during this COVID-19 period, many were released and regrouped,” Enanga said.
Under the Kawempe police division, 25 suspects were rounded up at the Bwaise roundabout and Kawala flyover. Old Kampala police picked up 9 suspects from Kawala zone III and Namungoona roundabout specifically in Nsi Eganye zone.
8 suspects were arrested from Kalerwe roundabout by Wandegeya police station. While 25 suspects were picked up from the Kyebando roundabout and Kyebando flyover by the Kira-road police division. Enanga says that 60 suspects will appear in court anytime.
Enanga notes that police have deployed both motorized and foot patrols from Busega roundabout to the Namboole area. “We are going to evaluate our efforts towards restoring safety and security. Ugandans should not worry much because we have responded well and brought some sanity along that section,” Enanga stated.
Police blame the poor lighting system and poorly planned drainage system, which offer sanctuary to the thugs for the criminality.
Criminal gangs are not new in Kampala. A number of criminal gangs have previously operated in various parts of Kampala and its neighborhoods. They included among others the famous Kifeesi, which was operating in Kampala and Mukono, Bad Life, B13, XOI, Happy Street and Naguru Arrow Boy.