Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | The Uganda Police Force is grappling with increased cases of self-kidnap across the country, especially among students and youths.
In the last one month, more than 20 cases of kidnap have been reported with six of these discovered to have been self-kidnaps.
According to the police Flying Squad records, between 2015 and February 2018 a total of 48 people of different ages and gender were reported kidnapped. Out of these 26 of the victims were recovered alive while eight of them were found dead.
Out of the total 48 cases, eight were of self-kidnap with only two of them reported in 2017, two in 2016 and two in 2015. In January and February 2018, two cases were reported.
According to the police spokesperson Emilian Kayima, the increased self-kidnaps have caused a diversion of police manpower from legitimate kidnap cases.
Among the self-kidnap cases reported in the last one month, have been three students asking for ransom from their parents, and a young woman identified as Mariam Uwase asking for money from the boyfriend. Denis Alyenyo, 33, a son to the Amolatar District Coordinator of Operation Wealth Creation, Lt Col Francis Angiya, is also listed among the self-kidnap cases. Alenyo was reportedly kidnapped late last month only to resurface on April 9. The list also has 27-year-old Phillip Tumwebaze who disappeared shortly before his wedding and was tracked to his friend's home.
A reliable source working in Flying Squad Unit told Uganda Radio Network that in the three years he has worked in the unit, there has been no legitimate case of kidnap of a male adult.
"Individuals most prone to kidnap are children and women. When you see a boy above the age of 18 or a man reported kidnapped, it's either a self-kidnap or he is in police custody or something like that, " the source who preferred anonymity as he is not allowed to speak for the force says.
The most recent self-kidnap case was of 21-year-old Mariam Uwase who is currently detained at Old Kampala Police Station for obtaining money by false pretence and giving false information to police.
On Sunday April 15, Flying Squad operatives tracked a number that had been used to call and ask for a 25 million shillings ransom from a boyfriend whose identity is withheld. On April 9, a case of kidnap was reported at Lugala Police Station after a call was made asking for a ransom. The boyfriend paid 700,000 shillings as commitment to pay the remaining.