The Crime Intelligence team working alongside Kawempe and Nabweru police stations has arrested 12 people suspected to be part of the group that is calling head teachers in Wakiso district anonymously demanding money or else they burn their schools.
Police swung into action after receiving a complaint from Joseph Nkoyoyo, the head teacher of Oxford Nursery and Primary School in Nabweru division, Nansana municipality, in Wakiso district. In his statement at Nabweru police station, Nkoyoyo explains that he received an anonymous phone call on June 24 ordering him to urgently send money so that his school could be spared from being burnt.
“The callers said they had been hired from Luweero district to burn my school. They told me to send the money I had with me so that they cannot burn my school. I was shocked. I want police to investigate these people,” Nkoyoyo said.
As police were still trying to trace the people threatening to set Oxford Nursery and Primary School ablaze, the head teacher of Prosper Junior School, Mary Kuliro also received a call from an anonymous caller asking her to pay money indicating that they had been hired to burn her school to ashes.
Like Nkoyoyo, Kuliro also rushed to Kawempe police station and opened a case. She explained that the callers also told her that they had been hired from Luweero district and she only had hours to send the available money or else they would burn the school.
Police spokesperson Fred Enanga, says that police set up a team to trace the callers leading to the arrest of twelve suspects. He explains that since Nkoyoyo and Kuliro provided the contacts of the callers, it took police a few hours to establish that the callers were within Kawempe and Nansana municipalities.
Information obtained from the suspects by crime intelligence and officers at Nabweru, and Kawempe police stations show the culprits picked the head teachers contacts from signposts as well as roadside banners advertising the respective schools.
More than 10 children have lost lives and several others lost property worth millions in fires. The fire at New Crest Junior Kibedi in Kawempe killed four pupils. The children died in the first week of school reopening.
Joseph Mugisa, the Director of the Police Fire and Rescue services says that most school fires are a result of deliberate action.