Residents of Kisugu, a Kampala suburb and neighboring areas have stormed Kisugu Police station demanding the release of their relatives who were recently arrested by police.
According to the relatives of the suspects, among whom were school going children, they were randomly arrested on June 4, 2014 during a police patrol in areas of Kibuli, Kisugu and Wabigalo.
According to the OC Kisugu Police Station, Mr. Vincent Adura, the roundup of suspects was part of police’s effort to crack down on the high crime rate in the area.
“This is a unique area and a number of crimes are going on. We are trying to crackdown on the suspects. However, those who were found to be below 18 years of age were released on Monday,” Mr Adura said.
The list of suspects that the writer saw had about 30 names, with about five highlighted as minors. The OC however declined to reveal the exact figures of the detainees.
Residents say a number of their relatives including children as young as 12 years remain in custody without the OC’s explanation.
“They arrested our children at random and since then, they have refused to talk to us,” Edward Mukaya said.
Mukaya said he had sent his sixteen year old son to buy salt at around 8pm on Saturday when he was arrested. Another lady whose son was arrested said she needed to know why her son was arrested but none of the police officers was willing to explain to her.
“I came from Busia where I work only to find that my son was arrested under unclear circumstance and without clear explanation,” she said.
Meanwhile, some of the residents are happy with the arrests, claiming it will help reduce on the high crime rate in the area.
According to the LCV councilor of the area, Mr Elijah Owobisingye, the crime rate in Kisugu is high and the arrest was in order.
“To curb the crime rate in this area, we have to screen these suspects. I have received information that a group of young people have been smoking opium and move with dangerous weapons like machetes,” said Mr Owobisingye.
He however said it was unfortunate to keep the suspects in cells over 24 hours without being charged.