What you need to know:
By the time of his death, Fred Mwanje was linked to four cases of child kidnap, according to police.
A suspected Kampala serial child kidnapper whose voice recording bargaining for ransom with the parents of one of his victims was widely shared on social media platforms was shot dead during arrest, police have said.
The man who police identified as 28-year-old Fred Mwanje was killed by Flying Squad Unit on December 2, 2022 at Salaama – Munyonyo, Kampala during what detectives described as a “violent confrontation” with their officers.
By the time of his death, Mwanje was linked to four cases of child kidnap, according to police.
It’s alleged that on November 19, 2022 at around 10am, Mwanje went into the home of one Abdu Bulega and Shamim Nakawungo where he inquired whether they had children who were interested in professional football training.
Ms Nakawungo who Mwanje found at their home is said to have asked him (Mwanje) to contact her husband, Bulega about their 7-year-old son. She then shared her husband’s phone contacts with him.
At around 3pm, their son was kidnapped when both parents were away from their home in Kibiri “A” zone, Busabala ward, in Wakiso District.
“At around 5pm, the suspect rang the victim’s father on his contact number and demanded a ransom of Shs3 million, in exchange for the release of the victim and also for the reason as to why he kidnapped him. Amidst police investigations, the victim paid a ransom of Shs2 million and the victim was handed over to the parents after medical examination,” police spokesperson, Fred Enanga said.
On November 29, 2022 at around 5pm, Mwanje is said to have kidnapped another child, a 6-year-old primary pupil from their home at Makerere, Kinoni in Rubaga Division, and demanded for a ransom of Shs2 million.
He reportedly asked the parents to send him the money via Airtel money number 0701790104 in exchange for their son.
“The suspect kept changing his location from Kulekana, Entebbe, Namulanda, Kampala, Taxi Park, Bweyogerere and Mabira. He was eventually tracked down to his home in Salaama- Munyonyo, where he was fatally wounded during a violent confrontation. A motorcycle registration number UEM 418Z that was being used in the kidnaps was recovered and exhibited. The proceeds from the ransoms were being used to construct his house in Mukono,” Commissioner of Police Fred Enanga added in a December 5, 2022 statement.
According to police, the parents and relatives of the victims were paying ransom to the kidnappers, “which is very dangerous, since it endangers other young children by providing an incentive for child kidnappers and copycat criminals.”
“As the Joint Security Agencies, we want to re-iterate that we do not encourage, endorse or condone the payment of ransoms. We would like to further warn parents, guardians and local leaders of an uptick in child kidnaps, where the kidnappers surveil particular neighborhoods for families that are above average and gather specific information about them. They kidnap their loved ones and coerce the family members into paying a ransom quickly to ensure a victim’s release. The lack of vigilance and easy get a way by motorcycles has created a terrible environment for kidnaps,” Mr Enanga added.