Concern as 68 people are killed in one week

A suspected goat thief who was rescued from a mob in Lira District recently. PHOTO/ISAAC OTWII

What you need to know:

  • Police spokesperson Fred Enanga says most of the deaths were by mob action.
  • Theft was the leading offence committed in Uganda with 41,950 cases contributing 21.4 per cent of all crimes registered in 2020.

At least 68 people were killed in crime-related incidents last week despite the current Covid-19 induced lockdown that has curtailed business activities across the country.
Police spokesperson Fred Enanga said most of the deaths were by mob action.
“Last week, the Criminal Investigations Directorate received 73 incidents in which 56 people died. We have noted with concern the surge in cases of mob action. Twelve people were killed in mob action last week,” Mr Enanga said yesterday at the police headquarters in Naguru, Kampala.

Last year, homicide cases dropped by 5.4 per cent from 4,718 cases in 2019, largely due to the first lockdown.
While the police are anticipating a further decline this year due to the current lockdown, the new statistics are worrying the Force.

Mr Enanga said theft, suspicion of witchcraft and domestic violence were the major causes of mob action. The incidents led to the arrest of 164 people.
“One of the victims of mob action was Wilson Akolebulungi, 18, who left his home for Kalagala Town in Kyankwanzi District. He was suspected to be a thief and was beaten to death in front of his eight-year-old niece despite explaining to them that he was innocent. We have arrested 11 suspects on charges of murder,” he said. Mr Enanga cautioned the public to desist from taking the law in their hands.

Security agencies also killed 12 people in Karamoja Sub-region on accusations of cattle rustling.
Mr Enanga said the deceased are among a group of raiders that carried out attacks in several districts in Karamoja and Acholi sub-regions and stole 350 head of cattle. Abim, Lamwo, Katakwi, Kween and Nabilatuk districts were the most affected by cattle rustling.

“The 12 raiders were put out of action while 18 others were arrested and detained at the 3rd Division of the Uganda People’s Defence Forces in Karamoja region. We also recovered seven guns whose serial numbers had been tampered with. The guns are to be taken for forensic analysis in Kampala to establish their history,” Mr Enanga said.

Police recovered 290 head of cattle in the process.
Meanwhile, police are hunting for 10 machete-wielding men who raided a home of a Chinese national in Bunamwaya on Entebbe Road and robbed Shs200m.
The suspects scaled the fence and gained access to the house where they tied their victims and later robbed the money.
Mr Charles Twine, the spokesperson of the Criminal Investigations Directorate, said their teams are on the ground to track and arrest the suspects.

Looking back

Theft was the leading offence committed in Uganda with 41,950 cases contributing 21.4 per cent of all crimes registered in 2020.
Theft was also the leading offence in 2019 with 55,704 cases.   According the Annual Crime and Traffic Safety Report 2020, theft cases were mainly motivated by economic gains. By December, 16,421 cases were taken to court, 5,257 cases secured convictions, 101 were acquitted, 1,176 were dismissed and 9,886 cases were still pending in court while 14,825 were still under inquiry. The Inspector General of Police, Mr Martins Okoth-Ochola, said the crime statistics last year were greatly influenced by the Covid-19 pandemic outbreak and the lockdown of some sectors.