Police call for vigilance in runup to festive month of December

Kampala- As the countdown to the festive month of December continues, police and other security agencies are urging the public to be more vigilant, following targeted attacks on mobile money dealers, traders, village saving groups and SACCOs, motor vehicles, and cattle among others.

The pre-festive season, is usually a time of stocking festive items by several business persons, but it also provides opportunities for criminals.

“We would like to ask the public to be vigilant for suspicious people and vehicles and to report any concerns to police immediately,” said police spokesperson Fred Enanga in a statement on Wednesday.

Enanga has also advised the public to have security measures around them, to help safeguard their properties, like ensuring cashless transactions, altering banking routines/patterns, use of armed escorts and guards while transporting or collecting cash, and keeping cash out of sight among others.

For instance in Mayuge district, a group of three robbers armed with two guns, attacked two different homes keeping village savings at Wandago parish, Magamaga Town Council on November 5, 2023, where they robbed Ugx 5m, from Daniel Wamunga, a 46-year-old, LCI Chairman of Church Zone at around 7:30 pm. The defence secretary, Mugaju Steven, who was responding to the alarm, was cut to the head, with a knife. The armed robbers also attacked Shifah Lwate at around 8 pm robbed Ugx 1.8m from him and escaped.

In Isingiro district, the police have in custody a one, John Barigye, a 32-year-old, male adult of Kaberebere II cell, South Ward, in Isingiro district, for the shop breaking and murder of Ruth Namata, a 32-year-old mobile money dearer/Bank Agent (of DFCU, Stanbic and Centenary Banks). On November 5, 2023, at around 10:10 pm, the suspect was captured on the private CCTV camera, breaking into the shop, searching and packing money into a bag, after committing the act of murder at around 11 pm. He exited through the behind door and escaped from the scene. The police team and K9, responded and recovered exhibits including the killer weapon. The suspect was traced after viewing the CCTV footage and arrested. A search at his home led to the recovery of the clothes that he was putting on during the act and lined them up to dry inside his house.

In Wakiso district, at Kabojja cell, Kyengera town council, on November 11, 2023, at around 2 am, a group of three men disguised as customers attacked a business premise and stole cash Ugx 3.6m. While dressed in jackets and face masks one of them who was armed drew out an AK 47 gun and a second one a pistol and put the cashiers at gunpoint, before robbing the cash plus 2 smartphones. They escaped immediately from the scene. The business premise had no CCTV cameras, and operated till late in the night, reason why it was targeted. The local askari was not armed.

In West Nile region, the police at Arua CPS, have put up a serious manhunt for two private security guards, attached to GKO security limited, who on the night of 12.11.2023, broke into Micro Finance Support offices, Arua branch, located in junior quarters, Awindiri ward in Arua city that they were guarding, damaged the safe and stole an unspecified amount of cash, a DELL Laptop and escaped, after abandoning their two riffles, at the scene. The two suspects include; Okullu Kenneth and Omara Andrew.

Enanga says preventing acquisitive crimes such as robbery, theft, burglary, shop breaking remains a priority for the Joint security agencies.

“We are meanwhile strengthening our network of vigilance, ahead of an increase in business activity, by identifying and carrying out raids on criminal hubs and increasing visibility. Our CLOs are already working with the community and encouraging them to be our eyes and ears, and to report suspicious activity. Do not assume, that someone else will report it for you. However, insignificant you think something may be, report it, because your actions could potentially save lives,” urged the police publicist.

To report any suspicious activity, the public is asked to call the National Operations Command Centre on 0800199699, 0707600773, or 0776999136