Kampala. A wave of livestock and poultry theft has swept Kampala Metropolitan area that comprises Kampala, Wakiso, Mukono and Mpigi districts.
The Kampala Metropolitan Police spokesperson, Mr Luke Owoyesigyire, says the most targeted animals are goats and cattle.
He adds that 200 cases have so far been registered since the last quarter of 2017.
“We mostly register cases of animal theft in Wakiso areas, especially Nsangi, Nabbingo and Nansana. We often intercept animals being transported in taxis at night or sometimes the animals are squeezed in car boots,” Mr Owoyesigyire says.
He says a taxi was intercepted with more than 300 chicken suspected to have been stolen in Nabbingo, Wakiso District two months ago.
The metropolitan police spokesperson adds that the thieves prefer transporting the stolen livestock and poultry between 1am and 5am.
How thieves operate
“They sometimes survey the homes and get to understand when the owners go to bed or days when they are not at home. Some know when these animals are alone in the farm and the time when they are taken back home. Animals thieves are usually people from the neighbourhood,” Owoyesigyire says.
He adds that the thieves sometimes visit the homes where they intend to steal animals from posing as buyers of livestock or poultry.
“However, their motive is to study the environment and possible routes if they return to steal the animals,” he says.
Owoyesigyire says several people have been arrested and charged in courts of law in connection with animal theft.
However, he does not avail the number of those prosecuted.
Police in Kawempe, a Kampala City suburb that has experienced rampant theft of livestock and poultry, launched an operation against the crime in February.
Four suspected cattle thieves were arrested in Ttula, Mulago Zone and Kidokolo Zone.
They included a boda boda rider and three butchers.
A similar operation was conducted in Kyanja Village in Kira Municipality where two more suspects were arrested with meat from a suspected stolen animal.
The officer-in-charge of Kidokolo Police Post, Mr Dan Mpadde, says locals accuse proprietors of butcheries of having a hand in the crime.
Mr Mpadde adds that some butchers have confessed to the crime.
Goat theft foiled
Two suspected goat thieves survived being lynched by a mob last Wednesday after they allegedly attempted to steal three goats belonging to Ms Mariam Ddamulira.
Ms Ddamulira says: “I had funny voices outside my house and I became suspicious. I decided to get up and check on my goats and I found three were missing. I looked over a perimeter wall and I saw men running through a corridor and I made an alarm for help.”
Residents responded to Ddamulira’s call for help and apprehended the suspects who had reportedly stuffed the goats in sacks.
The mob beat them severely before they were rescued by police.
Animal theft have majorly been reported in Matugga Town Council, Kawanda, Kagoma, Gganda, Gombe, Kasangati, Kawempe, Natete and Kajjansi.