17 April 2018

Uganda: Police Officer Arrested Over Robbery, Hangs Self

Kampala — A police officer was found hanging dead in jail after criminal suspects pinned him in several robberies.

Police spokesperson Emilian Kayima identified the officer as detective James Ogwal, attached to Kabalagala Police Station, whom he said committed suicide after arrest.

Mr Kayima told journalists at Kampala Central Police Station yesterday that many police officers are working with criminals to kill and rob boda boda riders across the country.

Mr Kayima said Ogwal was arrested on Friday after robbery suspects revealed that they had been working with him to steal motorcycles and vehicles.

He said Ogwal was detained at Mawanda Road Police Station but he was found hanging in the bathroom on Saturday morning.

"Thefts of boda bodas and vehicles have continued to occur throughout the country. Unfortunately, one of the key suspects James Ogwal was found dead in police cells at Mawanda Road. He was being investigated by Kira Road Police Station," Mr Kayima said.

Police sources said Ogwal was detained with another suspect who was not readily identified.

Ogwal reportedly entered the bathroom, but did not return.

Ordeal

His colleague became impatient and went to check only to find Ogwal's body dangling on a metallic bar of the bathroom window, about 10 feet above the ground.

Kayima said Ogwal hanged himself using a woven bathing pad.

He said Ogwal had been separated from the suspects at Kabalagala Police Station who implicated him.

Police sources said Ogwal had also been implicated in two cases of murder and robbery.

A police source said Ogwal left behind a note bearing 13 names of other police officers he was reportedly working with in the robberies.

However, Mr Kayima said the deceased left two messages; one in Luo and another in English cursing those who arrested him.

"You did bad to investigate me. You have caused me problems. Let me die and leave you to look after my family," Mr Kayima quoted Ogwal's message on a piece of paper.

"We have in custody several suspects in relation to these boda boda thefts. We appeal to the public especially those in boda boda industry to be careful. Report early and make follow ups," Mr Kayima said.

Meanwhile, police have arrested five people for kidnapping a two-year-old child in Kitezi, Wakiso District.

Mr Kayima said the suspects were found hiding the child in their home with intent to get a ransom from the parents.

"We have noticed cases of kidnap are on the rise and some people have turned it into a business. Some have faked their kidnap to get money from relatives. We ask public to be vigilant and be fast at reporting these cases," he said.

Arrest on kidnap

Meanwhile, Old Kampala police arrested a 21-year-old woman, Mariam Uwase, at the weekend on allegations of faking her own kidnap and demanding Shs25m from her boyfriend.

Police have warned the population to be vigilant during this rainy season because thugs are taking advantage of the downpour to break into homes.

A latest victim is Joel Musasizi, a resident of Seguku on Entebbe Road, who was attacked and robbed at gunpoint on Saturday night.

The thugs took way everything he had in his house and loaded it on their pick-up vehicle.

Report on thefts

The 2017 report by police Flying Squad Unit (FSU) showed 105 motorcycles had been stolen and Iganga, Gulu and Kampala districts topped motorcycle thefts. The FSU Commandant, Mr Herbert Muhangi, said some of the victims were hacked to death by the robbers while others survived with severe injuries.

The report indicates that some of the motorcycles were stolen at gunpoint but 20 out of 50 guns recovered in the robberies of cars, motorcycles and mobile money had police and army engravings.

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