The Observer (Kampala)

3 February 2013

Uganda: Thugs, Soldiers Team Up to Rob

Hardcore criminals in Kampala are teaming up well with some unlikely partners -army deserters, police say.

Police say the racket mainly targets businessmen who move with cash from business premises to their residences. According to police, a group of nine thugs have been arrested.

"This group has been involved in armed robbery of cash and also target forex bureaux. This racket has been spying on their victims and after robbery, they disappear in Super Custom vehicles which they hire expensively from companies or owners," Kampala Metropolitan Police Spokesperson Ibn Senkumbi said.

He told a news conference last week at Central Police Station, Kampala that the arrested army deserters have been getting guns used in these robberies from soldiers who are paid highly after every successful robbery.

The suspected ringleaders who are currently detained at CPS, Kampala have been identified as Sergeant George William Acheda, 39; and Johnson Mutundi, 52; both UPDF deserters formerly attached to ESO Katonga detach and Nakasero head office respectively. Others who were posing as taxi drivers include Muhammad Lutu, 30; Sam Kiberu, 38; and Sulaiman Kiwanuka, 33; alias Hajji, all residents of Kampala.

Others who have been posing as businessmen during the day and robbing at night include Moses Kasita, 38; Henry Kabugo alias Dog, 29; Robert Kwesigwa, 27 and Julius Byereta, 30; all resident in Kampala. Senkumbi said their luck ran out after robbing a businessman, Sunday Venasha, of airtime worth Shs 100m, cash Shs 50m, a phone and a computer on January 5.

"After robbing him of all the cash, they abducted him and put him in their Super Custom and moved with him around the city. They later dumped him at Kololo airstrip and disappeared with cash and airtime," he said.

Senkumbi said police arrested the suspects and recovered airtime worth Shs 25 million from their homes, a gun and cash Shs 6m. They are expected to be charged in court soon, he said.

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