A total of 60 gang members, including those with violent backgrounds have been arrested by the Joint Security Agencies during ongoing operations against criminality along the Northern bypass.
The suspects are wanted for burglary, car vandalism in form of car window smash and grab, simple robberies, being in possession of sharp weapons, and narcotics offenses.
The gang members are mostly youth from 14 years to 25 years.
CP Enanga Fred the Police Spokesperson says the pop-up crimes along the bypass first occurred in 2018, but they dismantled the gangs and took several of them to court.
He adds that while the car window smash and grab crimes along the Northern bypass have caused concern, they do not indicate a countrywide surge in property crime.
Enanga says the primary driver of crime along the bypass is the opportunity that the environment brings which includes; poor lighting systems, extensive drainage with poorly planned settlements, youth gangs that are homeless, and looking for quick cash rather than work.
“Therefore, as security agencies address the crime concerns, other technocrats need to find ways of bringing these youths, out of the kind of economic desperation therein, that leads them into property crimes” Enanga added.
Despite these recent incidents, Enanga says Kampala remains one of the safest cities for motorists and road users. Kawempe Police Division conducted intelligence-led operations to curb criminal activities of mugging, property snatching, simple robberies in its jurisdictional areas of Kawaala junction flyover, Bwaise roundabout flyover in Kibate area.
A total of 25 suspects were screened out, for being in possession of narcotic drugs, and converging in places of criminality. These include; Kateregga Zax, Luminsa Peter, Isabirye Joel, Ntate Reagan, Nkalubo Hakim, Ssemuju William, Muwalula Ronald, Tebyekya Najib, Yiga Peter, Tumusiime Edison, Kikonyogo Moses and Arinaitwe Denis. Others include; Ssekwanga Ibra, Shafiq Geoffrey, Katerega Ibra, Kaketo Ronald, Ngabire Brian, Omabbe Jesse, Ssenyondo Peter, Bazanye Andrew, Mwasago Bright, Kizito Umar, Mukasa Umar, Kigenyi Farooq, and Mayinja Sentongo.
The operations under Old Kampala Police jurisdiction were conducted at Kawaala Zone III and Namungoona roundabout flyover, at a place dubbed as “Ensi Egaanye”. A total of 9 hardcore criminals on the police-wanted watch list were arrested.
These include; Kamoga Geofrey, Muhumuza peter, Ssegawa Ibra, Sunday Ibrahim John, Muhangi Hillary, Mutesasira Junior, Kabubi Ronald, and Tony Kazibwe alias Colonel Zoodi who commands the gang at Namungoona flyover.
Additional operations were conducted at Wandegeya Police Division, in the criminal hotspots at Kalerwe Northern bypass. A total of 10 suspects were arrested. These include; Mpindi Adam, Kato Ssegujja, Mubiru Cedric, Tamale Ronald, Kisembo Vincent, Bulade Martin, Mawanda Isma, Kabuye Frank, Suuna Fahad and Kato Eria.
At Kira Road Police Division, the operations were conducted at Kyebando roundabout flyover and the diversion to Tirupati. A total of 16 suspects were screened out for further court action.
These include; Twebaze Joshua, Nakajiko Harriet, Musinguzi Vincent, Namanya Christine, Walugembe Reagan, Ainebyona Kevin, and Ngobi Moses Peter. Others include; Bona Kiyimba, Dusbima Lionel, Kampa Trevor Paul, Lapa Ken, Wasswa Peter, Wani Bob, Namboweko Davis, Gadala Davis and Kigundu Benjamin.
The suspects begin their criminal activities at around 4 pm when the traffic jam begins to pile up. They usually become violent after 7 pm and use the cover of darkness where they start acting violently with weighing scale stone, pavers, stones, and sharp objects which they use to hit and cut their victims, rob them and escape from the scene under the cover of darkness. The most targeted victims are women and vulnerable individuals moving alone.
“The arrests of the criminal gang members demonstrate the collective resolve as security agencies to rid major highways, criminal hubs, and hotspots of the senseless acts of violence and impunity. We have now dominated the area and spread out officers in uniform (foot and motorized), and deployed covert teams from Busega roundabout to Namboole. We are constantly evaluating our efforts towards restoring safety and security along the bypass.”