Trader shot dead in URA anti-smuggling operation

The car which soldiers attached to URA used to chase the trader (inset) before he was shot dead. On the right is a vehicle carrying merchandise allegedly smuggled into Uganda by the deceased before he was killed on September 2, 2022. PHOTO/AMBROSE MUSASIZI

What you need to know:

  • An eye witness who preferred anonymity told Monitor that the armed URA team shot the trader in the chest after he had surrendered.

At least one trader was shot dead during a Friday morning operation by the armed Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) anti-smuggling unit at Mutukula border in Kyotera District.

Exhibits at Rakai Police Station suggest that deceased Frank Kakuba was gunned down after he was caught with several boxes of cosmetics in his car which URA alleges were smuggled from neighboring Tanzania.

Eye witnesses “saw a Toyota Wish saloon car with covered number plates chasing a Toyota Premio Registration Number UBA 671F which Kakuba was driving.”

URA’s race to catch Kakuba, a resident of Maddu Sub County in Gomba District who has been supplying merchandise to retailers in Lwengo District, is said to have started from the border town of Mutukula at around 6:30am.

“Later, Kakuba branched off in Kasasa Trading Centre and drove towards Lwanda in Rakai until he was intercepted at Kirundamaliga Township along the Lumbugu –Lwamaggwa Road,” an eye witness narrated.

Another eye witness who preferred anonymity told Monitor that the armed URA team deflated two tyres of Kakuba’s car forcing him to stop immediately.

“When the car stopped, he (Kakuba) came out and raised his arms and surrendered to arrest but one of the soldiers went ahead and shot him in the chest. He fell on the ground,” the eyewitness told this publication.

Further, the pro-URA soldiers reportedly bundled Kabuba’s body into their car and took it to Rakai General Hospital before driving out of Rakai District.

Rakai District Police Commander (DPC) Mr Joshua Kananura disclosed to Monitor that the soldiers attached to URA’S anti-smuggling unit reported themselves at Rakai Police Station and investigations into the fatal shooting are underway.

“We are going to liaise with the security team at Mutukula to ascertain what exactly transpired. This is a human being who cannot just die like that,” he said.

He added: “We are also waiting for a postmortem report from Rakai General Hospital which will also help in our investigations.”   

There is a porous border line between Uganda and Tanzania at Mutukula which has given both Ugandan and Tanzanian traders room to evade taxes at the customs office.

Uganda’s tax body recently announced tightened anti-smuggling efforts to prevent annual losses of multi-million shillings revenue through smuggling schemes at various border points.

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