Armed robbers target fuel stations in new crime wave

Ausi Lubandi, a 23-year-old guard attached to a private firm, JAG Security Group Ltd was attacked and killed at GP Global Petrol Station (pictured) where he had been deployed on December 24, 2021. PHOTO/ DENIS EDEMA

What you need to know:

  • According to the police crime report for 2020, theft was the leading offence committed in Uganda with 41,950 cases contributing 21.4 per cent of all crimes in that year. Theft was also the leading offence in 2019.
  • At least 20 attacks on petrol stations have been recorded across the country since the year began.

Security agencies have reported an increase in robberies at petrol stations in which several guards have been killed by the criminals, who later make off with cash and property worth millions of shillings.  
At least 20 attacks on petrol stations have been recorded across the country since the year began.

In most of the incidents, the criminals attack the guards at around 1am before breaking into the safe where they steal money. The criminals then dismantle the CCTV camera systems and take off.
Police spokesperson Fred Enanga said the attacks on petrol stations are on the increase despite their sensitisation campaign for the station managers to raise security alertness.

“In most of the cases, the criminals are targeting petrol stations that don’t have enough security. You find that the petrol station has a single guard or guards don’t take security precautions. In other areas, there is a connivance between the criminals and the workers at the petrol stations,” Mr Enanga said yesterday.
The latest incidents were in Mubende Town in Mubende District and another at Kyengera in Nsangi Town Council, Wakiso District, last week.  
At Shell Mubende, a group of six thugs armed with metallic bars and a gas cylinder put the two pump attendants at knife point and tied them up. The thugs then robbed Shs26.7m from the strong room, according to the police.

“We believe that there was connivance. When we retrieved the CCTV footage, we noticed that the thugs were moving freely with one of the guards. The petrol station manager also reported the incident very late. When we visited, it was also noticed that a key to the safe had been left in an open place. And the windows to the strong room were also left open. So we arrested the manager, the supervisor and other personnel,” Mr Enanga said.

At Kyengera, a thug came to the petrol station and attempted to grab the gun of a private security guard at 1am. The female guard put up a fight, but three other guards joined in and they were able to overpower her.
The thugs made off with Shs2.5m and a motorcycle. However, they abandoned the motorcycle after they were chased by the people near the petrol station.
The thugs have carried out robberies on petrol stations in districts of Wakiso, Buikwe, Mubende, Mukono, Jinja, Nakaseke and others.

Line of investigations
Police haven’t yet established whether it is an organised gang that is carrying out the attacks or the thugs operate independently.
The chairperson of Uganda Private Security Association, Mr Grace Matsiko, said the attacks are isolated, but they are being studied to come up with a strategy to deal with them.
“The private security organisations are working with security agencies, including the police, to study the attacks on petrol stations with a view to coming up with a proper strategy and establish if the attacks aren’t part of what the country is experiencing in terms of security,” he said.


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