What you need to know:
The BMW was stolen from chief Inspector David Machui Maina, who was driving into his compound in Utawala, Nairobi when four armed men confronted him. It was recovered in Kampala after police traced a suspect through his girlfriend.
KAMPALA- The Uganda police have recovered President Uhuru Kenyatta’s escort car after help from the suspect’s girlfriend, who lured him into a security trap at Wandegeya, a Kampala suburb.
A police source said the suspect, who was arrested driving Uhuru’s stolen BMW, is a Ugandan but his identity was concealed for fear to jeopardise the investigations.
The suspect was arrested by the police Flying Squad operatives as he was meeting his girlfriend in Wandegeya, a Kampala suburb on Tuesday night.
The vehicle had been vandalised, according to another police source who declined to be named because the issue involves another country.
Mr Asan Kasingye, the director of Interpol, confirmed the recovery of Uhuru’s car but declined to divulge particulars of the suspect.
“Our counterparts informed us that their president’s car that was robbed at gunpoint was heading to Uganda. So we started monitoring and we recovered it. We have sent it back to Kenya,” Mr Kasingye said yesterday.
The vehicle was stolen on Wednesday last week after an armed gang attacked the police driver, Inspector David Machui. He was later released, but the gang made off with the vehicle.
The tracking system in the vehicle is said to have been removed by the gangsters in a garage in Kenya. It was last tracked in Bungoma, western Kenya, on Sunday evening. Kenyan police detectives arrested Mr Aggrey Ochieng, a mechanic in a garage where the car was first worked on.
Sources said Mr Ochieng was arrested and he provided telephone contacts of the suspects which the detectives shared with Ugandan counterparts on Monday.
Kenyan authorities also alerted the Ugandan security through a senior Ugandan police officer in Nairobi, who coordinated with his colleagues in Kampala.
Flying Squad operatives and Integrated Highway Patrol officers were deployed at the border points and bridges between Kenya and Kampala but could not trace the car.
On Tuesday, Ugandan security agencies received contact of the suspect’s girlfriend who first denied any connection with the accused.
“Flying Squad operatives pressed her to cooperate and she finally gave in. So she telephoned the suspect and they had a normal chat as detectives listened in. She was told to ask for a meeting with him which the suspect accepted,” a police source said.
When the suspect reached Kampala, he went to Wandegeya and met the girlfriend. The police detectives acted fast and arrested him without a fight.
“He took our officers to the car. They searched it and found out that it had the exact match with the initials of the one they were looking for,” the police source said.
After the arrest, the Flying Squad detectives released his girlfriend without any charge.
Details of what the suspect told Uganda police are still guarded to avoid alerting his accomplices.
It was not readily established whether the suspect would be charged in Uganda or extradited for trial in Kenya where the offence was first committed.
Car robberies worry Kenya, Uganda police
A midst joint tracking systems put in place by Ugandan and Kenyan governments to crack down on vehicle theft in the two countries, stolen vehicles from Kenya continue to find their way in Uganda.
According to the Bukedi region police spokesperson, Mr Michael Odongo, most of the recovered vehicles are reportedly stolen from Kenya and smuggled to Uganda through customs while others use the porous borders of Malaba and Busia after dismantling the vehicles’ tracking systems.
He says since January, the number of Kenyan stolen vehicles recovered has increased, adding that the car robbers have started using advanced technologies to beat the systems installed by governments of the two countries.
Mr Odongo says most of the stolen vehicles are recovered before they are dismantled by robbers, adding that the majority of them are found hidden in garages or peoples’ homes.
He adds that all those arrested in Uganda in connection with the theft of cars in Kenya are Ugandans but they are believed to coordinate with their agents based in Kenya.
He disclosed that since the beginning of 2014, they have so far recovered more than six vehicles.