A suspect being arrested (courtesy photo)

With only six days remaining until the annual Uganda Martyrs Day celebrations, joint security forces have arrested 45 suspected thugs in Namugongo and its environs. The security agencies have initiated operations targeting suspected criminals who often exploit pilgrims trekking to Namugongo, particularly during the early or late evening hours.

Under the command of SP Brighton Ahimbisamukama, 15 suspects were initially apprehended in operations conducted from Sunday night to Monday morning. Among the first group of suspects identified were Syino Michael, Katumba Ashraf alias Cobler (a known serial offender), Esere Hassan, Olowo Abeneko, Kasoma Emmanuel, Safari Yona, Bukenya Mudasiru, Mudu Salim, Sekandi Mustafa, Kikawa Stanley, Kabuye Ronald, Vumbi Enock, Nuwe John, Benjamin Sali, and Godfrey Kyasanku.

SP Ahimbisamukama reported to Kampala metropolitan headquarters that the operations were in response to the recent surge in reported criminal activities. The targeted areas for the initial operations were Nsawo Zone and Kyaliwajala Ward, both in Namugongo Division, Kira Municipality, Wakiso District. 

During these operations, suspected narcotic substances and house-breaking implements were recovered. “These operations are part of our ongoing efforts to ensure security as we gear up for the celebrations of Martyrs Day,” SP Ahimibisamukama said in a report to KMP.

Subsequently, last evening, SP Ahimbisamukama, along with other security agencies, conducted intelligence-led operations focusing on criminal hideouts in the areas of Kapela, Kimbejja, and Kyaliwajala. This second operation was based on information provided by the previously arrested suspects.

The total number of suspects apprehended now stands at 45, all currently detained at Kira Division police headquarters. ASP Luke Owoyesigyire, the deputy Kampala metropolitan police spokesperson, reported that 30 suspects were apprehended during the latest operations.

Additionally, CCTV camera operators identified two individuals assaulting members of the public. “One of the suspects, Mutebi Shafic, was arrested in Namugongo Agenda 2000 after hitting a person with a stone,” Owoyesigyire said. Ahimbisamukama and other security agencies have pledged to continue these operations before, during, and after the Martyrs Day celebrations. 

Each year during Martyrs Day, many pilgrims fall victim to thugs who ambush them along Northern Bypass, Kira Division Road, Namugongo Road, and various access routes such as Buto–Bweyogerere Road, Mbalwa Road, and Jjanda areas, including Nakiyanja swamp. Thugs typically target pilgrims’ bags, which often contain money for transportation and purchasing food at Namugongo, as well as their mobile phones. 

Meanwhile, business activities in Namugongo have begun to thrive, with food and merchandise vendors setting up various serving points. However, the number of pilgrims remains relatively low, although the hosting diocese of Nebbi is expected to make a triumphant entry tomorrow.


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