Police start hunt for armed gangs

Tuesday October 22 2019

Under watch. Police guard a crime scene after a

Under watch. Police guard a crime scene after a shoot-out with a suspected gang at Kiguli Village in Kisenyi, Kampala, last year. PHOTO By Michael Kakumirizi 

By ANDREW BAGALA

Police and other security forces have started operations in all divisions against armed gangs that have been terrorising Kampala city and its suburbs and the metropolitan area.
The joint security operation started last night, according to police officers involved in the planning.
A police source said the police officers will carry out night offensive on target areas where they suspect the gangs operate.
Top police and military officers met with territorial commanders at the weekend and gave them a brief about the operation.
Kampala Metropolitan Police deputy spokesperson Luke Owoyesigyire declined to comment on the operation.
Last week, security agencies revised their urban security plan after they faced setbacks in the implementation of the first one.
The Deputy Inspector General of Police, Maj Gen Sabiiti Muzeeyi, issued five approaches to curbing armed crime and said failure would attract sanctions against police officers.
“We teach you. And if you don’t do what we have told you, we punish you. And if you fail to do what you ought to do again, we reprimand you. It is a carrot and stick now,” Maj Gen Muzeyi said.
The approaches are similar to those that the Inspector General of Police Martins Okoth Ochola laid out in October last year.
Last Tuesday, President Museveni gave Maj Gen Sabiiti two days to present a security plan to defeat the armed gangs. Maj Gen Sabiiti presented his plan on Thursday.
In the five revised approaches, police officers are to enhance linkages with the public, quick response, effective investigations and prosecution of culprits, profiling and pursuit of known repeat offenders, and strengthening security at residences.
These were part of President Museveni’s plans that he announced last year to curb armed urban crime which had claimed many lives including high profile personalities.
Maj Gen Sabiiti said the Local Defence Unit (LDU) personnel would be integrated into police work at the local level.
Although Uganda People’s Defence Forces commanders say the LDUs were supposed to operate under the supervision of the police, they have largely been operating independently, especially during deployments.
Maj Gen Sabiiti said the plan will address the deployment gaps. The officers will register families afresh in their area and give each their contacts to reduce the police emergency response from 15 minutes to five.

Hideouts
The criminals, ranging from four to seven, armed with machetes, housebreaking implements and sometimes firearms have been attacking homes in Kampala and the metropolitan area and stealing household property, including cars and money. Police officers often visit the scene hours after the criminals have vanished. The most affected areas have been Kira Municipality, Entebbe Road around Kajjansi and Bwebajja, Lungujja and Kasangati suburbs.

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