Uganda Police should tackle violent crime
Greater Kampala residents are worried about muggers following a string of news reports about violent motorcycle theft.Gangs in the city have seriously injured their victims and even killed some during the robberies, which usually occur at night in peripheral areas like Ndeeba, Katwe, Rubaga. A friend of mine who lives in Nateete recently sent me an email sharing horrifying images of his brother who was a victim of a brutal attack by the dreaded Kifeesi gangs that has terrorised the residents of Kampala for past year.according to him, most Boda Boda riders in the city have started thinking twice about accepting an order later than 11 p.m because of risks involved with doing business at those odd hours.In his views, it’s not like the riders don’t want the money, they just don’t want to get killed because, from what they hear, most Kampala gangs commit their crimes around midnight.To ensure I write objectively, I dropped an email to another Ugandan friend who happens to be a resident of Wakiso district and she shared same concern as her neighbor recently became the victim of such a crime. Even violent robbery happens in my crowded neighborhood Najjanakumbi. Contador I don’t want to go outside at night except if I really have to,’ she wrote on her email.In Kampala, people usually feel safer in crowded neighborhoods because many local residents still hang out on the streets late into the night, giving a sense of security.Crimes usually happen in deserted areas where there are no people to come to help a victim. In Uganda Police Force(UPF) report for 2015 crime report, that most gangs of violent thieves in Greater Kampala came from slums neighbouring the city and were known on the streets as the ‘Kifeesi Gang’.In comparison with other groups, the Kifeesi Gang was feared for not hesitating to use homemade firearms to attack their victims.
Uganda Police Force said the group would attack their victims even if the victims did not fight back. Other groups only used their weapons if their victims fought back.One of the aforementioned friends contacted the Police in Kampala and asked them to tighten security in the area so as they can minimize the crimes in the area.Comparing to 2014, 2015 Kampala and overall in Uganda actually had less violent crimes. However, UPF said the criminals had become more sadistic.For example the police report noted that violent vehicle theft is less frequent, but their actions have become more sadistic.Kampala Police recorded that in first quarter of this year alone there were 30 vehicles thefts in Greater Kampala, most of them took place in South Kampala, followed by Central Kampala.According to reports, Uganda Police Force had solved majority of cases and arrested the perpetrators.The law enforcement authorities have to be smarter than the criminals and it was encoring to see hear from my friend that Kampala Police had formed a special team for every police precinct in each of the eight Kampala divisions to eradicate the crimes.The Police headquarters based in Naguru area of Kampala had dispatched additional officers from the intelligence, narcotics and special crime unit to handle the crimes.Kampala Police is said to be more focused on eliminating vehicle theft and claimed they had arrested street muggers within the first half of 2016 and had shot some of them to for trying to escape or fight back during the arrest.The no nonsense Inspector General of Police General Kale Kayihura was reported to have ordered the policemen to not hesitate to open fire if the perpetrators were being dangerous.Gen. Kayihura also said the police had also started doing a routine raid every night in outer areas such as Katwe and Kawempe between 9 p.m. and 5 a.m.Overall, as someone with first hand experience of Kampala and its neighbourhoods, i can only hope that the law enforcement authorities deal with criminals firmly and eradicate the problem so that next time I pop into ‘Peal of Africa’ i don’t have to encounter the Kifeesi’s of this world.