Four guards killed in raids on schools

The deputy head teacher of Mende Kalema Memorial Secondary School, Mr Isaac Masaba, shows a classroom from where one of their guards was beaten by the attackers. PHOTOS/MICHAEL KAKUMIRIZI

What you need to know:

  • The thugs fled with Shs195m from eight of the institutions and also stole other valuables.

Four guards have been killed and 15 injured within a month in a spate of attacks targeting schools in Wakiso District, which circumscribes the capital Kampala.
 The thugs fled with Shs195m from eight of the institutions and also stole other valuables, including computers and television screens.
 In one case, they stripped the Closed-Circuit Television (CCTV) camera control panel at Almadiinatul Munawarah Islamic  School. Detectives suspect the motive was to destroy audio-visual evidence.  

 The schools that lost the most money were Kyandondo Secondary School (Shs110m), where a guard was killed, and Kasawo Secondary School (Shs63) where three watchmen sustained serious injuries.
The latest occurred at Nswanjere Junior Seminary in Muduuma Sub-county, Mpigi District, in the wee hours of Monday morning.
Three Catholic priests– Fr Godfrey Kyeyune, Fr Emmanuel Mukukule and Fr John Bosco Kiggundu - and Bro John Bosco Mwasa were injured in the attack.
 The attacks on schools began in February, according to investigators, who said the thugs targeted offices of head teachers and bursars. They ransacked rooms where they failed to find money.

 In interviews with this publication, some school administrators said they never keep substantial amounts of cash at the institutions, except for petty expenses.
 At one school where the thugs chanced on up to Shs110m, officials said the money had been withdrawn from the bank to pay salaries of casual workers and buy logistic materials.
 According to police, which accounts we independently corroborated, most schools were attacked in the dead of night, with guards on duty injured or killed.
 The gangsters then targeted offices in which they suspected money was kept. In other cases, they broke into rooms with valuables such as computers/laptops and television sets.
 Mr Isaac Saka Masaba, the deputy head teacher of Kalema Memorial Senior Secondary School in Wakiso District, which was attacked on March 11, said the raiders numbered six.
 They rounded up the security guards, beat them up and roped them up.

 One of the victims died two days after the assault, Mr Masaba said.
He said the thugs the fateful night breached the head teacher’s office from where they stole two central processing units; one for examination and the other for administrative records.
 “The thugs caught us off-guard, the electricity was off and the school [could not] afford a standby generator because it is a typical Universal Secondary Education (USE) school,” Mr Masaba said.
 The school has since hired an armed guard for night security following the attack in which the raiders made off with Shs1.5m and a television set from the dean’s office and staff room, respectively. Sources said the school is investigating whether there was internal collusion.
 Mr Patrick Onyango, the spokesperson of Kampala Metropolitan Police, told this publication yesterday that their Flying Squad personnel were investigating attacks on nine schools in Wakiso District.

The Director of Studies at Spring Field High School, Mr Michael Musoowa, shows the point where their guard was hit with an iron bar. 

 Thirteen suspects have been taken into custody, he said, and some have told interrogators that they operate under one command, but work in separate groups and on different missions.
 “The suspects are being detained at [the] Central Police Station (CPS) Kampala on charges of robbery, murder and attempted murder as investigations into the matter continue,” Mr Onyango added.
 He revealed that the hunt for other suspects is ongoing and advised schools to always employ and deploy armed guards, fence off their premises, install CCTV cameras and have area police and other security agencies on speed dial.
Schools that fell victim included Almadiinatul Munawarah Islamic School  located in Wakiso’s Mende Sub-county where the attackers killed one security guard, injured two, stole one computer and uprooted the CCTV control panel system and fled with Shs700,000.
 Ms Adari Maimona, the head teacher, said the “many” thugs overwhelmed the guard on duty whom they tied up before advancing to dispossess the institution of valuable equipment and cash.

 “We were going to have some footage captured if the thugs had not stolen the CCTV system and also we were using the local guards,” she said, adding, “but now we have hired armed private security guards to take over security of the school during day and night.”
 Spring Field High School is found in Wakiso District and its head, Mr Parnwell Mwesigye, said they were attacked on March 3.
 The assailants injured the security guards and broke into the offices of the head teacher and bursar where they took Shs8m before ransacking the offices.
 “The bursar had just withdrawn Shs8 million to procure the uniform for students; I had also kept Shs340,000 for students’ pocket money in my office, but all that was taken,” he said.
 Mr Mwesigye reported the incursion to Buwambo Police Station where detectives told this publication that their investigations were still ongoing.

 Guards at Cambridge College, Gayaza, remain hospitalised after narrowly surviving death during an attack, head teacher Gerald Ssewanyana said.
 He said the outlaws stole Shs5m in petty cash and that they were unsure whether there was complicity by some staff or not.  
 “The matter is very sensitive and it is still under investigation. As the school, we are doing our internal investigation [and we shall brief the police about the progress since police are also investigating the same matter,” he added.