Armed criminals are back in Kampala terrorising the city and its outskirts. On Tuesday, gunmen riding on motorcycles raided a Mobile Money outlet in Zana, about 6km from the city centre, and killed the agent and her worker. They fled with the cash they looted undetected and security responded long after the killers had disappeared.
On the same day near the same area, police bust armed criminals who were planning a robbery. They had guns belonging to the army and one police officer was injured in the shootout. Fortunately, one suspect was arrested.
Just about two weeks ago, armed criminals raided a hardware shop in Nansana, a few kilometres from the city centre, and killed three people. No arrest has been made. Another armed robbery was foiled at Fang Fang Restaurant in the city centre about two weeks ago. There are several other such incidents that have happened in and around Kampala in recent times.
This is despite the robust 10-point security strategy the President announced last year and said would defeat the armed crime in the country, starting with urban centres, which are most prone.
These renewed successive attacks bring back memories of kidnaps for ransom and killings that rocked the country last year, breeding public tension and threatened to derail national security until the President gave assurances. Addressing a press conference at State House in September 2018, the President said the government would hunt and annihilate the criminals.
“The pigs that have doomed their future by shedding the blood of innocent Ugandans, have only themselves to blame for their eternal damnation,” Mr Museveni said referring to the armed killers.
He proposed a raft of security measures to fight urban crime, which included installation of CCTV cameras in homes and business premises in towns and highways, electronic number-plating for vehicles and motorcycles, finger-printing of all guns and deployment of army and reserve forces, storage of DNA for all Ugandans, etc.
At least 6,000 reserve forces have been deployed in Kampala Metropolitan Area and Shs560b spent on installation of CCTV cameras in and around the capital.
However, despite all this, armed urban crime has resumed in threatening scale with the killers shooting people dead in broad daylight.
Government must take action to prove it is in charge of the country’s security. It must stop the rhetoric of mere vows to eliminate the criminals.