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Who is killing, robbing Ugandans?

President Yoweri Museveni.

By Moses Ssejjoba

Police has come out to own up to the string of armed and violent robberies that have ravaged pockets of Kampala and surrounding suburbs, saying the perpetrators are highly trained. The robberies have left scores of innocent Ugandans dead in gruesome ways, while those in charge of our security have been left humiliated, to say the least.

In one of the incidents, precisely one that took place in Nansana late May, the thugs, riding motorcycles, raided a hardware shop, cordoned off an entire neighborhood, killed attendants and took sums of money from the hardware. The police and other security agencies arrived after the thugs had gone, and only collected the bodies of three innocent Ugandans.

Hardly a fortnight later, on a Tuesday morning, armed men struck again, killing two female mobile money operators and robbing them of an unspecified amount of cash at Zzana on Entebbe Road. Just like the Nansana heist, the armed thugs were riding motorcycles without number plates. In just the past six weeks, at least 10 of such armed robberies have occurred just in Kampala Metropolitan area.

The common denominator is that the robbers in question are highly trained and heavily armed which points to the humiliation police have suffered in their pursuit. Just recently the government mouthpiece, New Vision reported that the robberies that have left Ugandans spending sleepless nights are linked to a top UPDF General.

Spooked by the implications this would have, Police and other security agencies quickly dismissed the report. The explanation offered by security agencies was that the soldiers that were arrested following an investigation into the robberies, and who were linked to the said general were on a different mission. That mission was never explained and the soldiers were subsequently released with no charge.

It did not help things when in a foiled robbery at a top city restaurant, Fang Fang in Nakasero, a joint operation arrested four robbers – all of them officers of the UPDF.

Crime happens in many urban settings, one would say, but it is the first time in our history that were are witnessing crime of such proportions. The fact that these criminals come on motorcycles and are able to leave undetected only leaves us wondering if these are not the same people who have been assassinating leaders over the past few years.

Former senior prosecutor Joan Kagezi, Assistant Inspector General of Police Andrew Felix Kaweesi, Maj. Suleiman Kiggundu and Arua Municipality MP Ibrahim Abiriga, among others were all killed by gunmen riding on motorcycles. Several accounts, including the recent revelation by Museveni’s own minister, Idah Nantaba, pinned the murders on security operatives.

President Museveni, who was never short of excuses every time such high profile murders occurred, eventually said he had solved this “once and for all,” in his own words. He went ahead and sunk half a trillion shillings to install CCTV cameras across Kampala and it’s peripheries.

It is therefore shocking that in the same Kampala Metropolitan Area where the cameras have been deployed, people continue to die and robbed of their hard-earned possessions.

And where is Museveni in all this with his so-called 10-point security strategy he boasted about in September last year?