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Residents arrest three soldiers for extorting money in guise of enforcing COVID-19 Preventive measures


Residents arrest three soldiers for extorting money in guise of enforcing COVID-19 Preventive measures

Three Uganda People’s Defense Force-UPDF soldiers in Busia district have been arrested for allegedly extorting money from residents in the guise of enforcing the COVID-19 preventive measures. The trio is identified as; Odongo Oragi No. RA 207941, Thomas Omagye No. RA 254844 and Patrick Olinga No. RA 254872, all attached to Nalwire UPDF detach barracks in Lumino Sub-county.

The soldiers were arrested on Monday for allegedly staging illegal roadblocks along Masaba-Lumino road near Masaba collage in Masaba Sub-county where they were extorting between Shillings 10,000 and Shillings 30,000 from Boda-boda riders and between Shillings 50,000 and 100,000 from fishmongers.  

According to Hamphrence Maloba Lubya, the Masaba Sub-county LC 3 chairman, his office has registered several complaints from the community about soldiers manning roadblocks and extorting money from them, which he also forwarded to the office of the Residents District Commissioner- RDC.

Maloba adds that he was overwhelmed with the complaints that prompted him to mobilize residents to arrest the errant soldiers in Masaba trading center where they found them manning a roadblock.  

Busia Deputy Resident District Commissioner Mathew Tusubira said the arrest of the soldiers is a huge achievement as his office had also registered several complaints from residents about the conduct of the suspects but they couldn’t point a finger at any particular soldier without evidence.

However, Jude Wandera, the Bukedi and Elgon Subregions UPDF spokesperson, says that the soldiers had just  intercepted a Boda-boda rider who was carrying passengers when the angry residents rounded them up and attempted to lynch him.

He says the soldiers called the Masaba Gombolola internal security officer-GISO for intervention. But instead, the GISO arrested the soldiers and took them to Masaba Sub-county police station, which later handed them to the commander of Nalwire army barracks where they are still in custody as investigations are ongoing.

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