By Simon Masaba
You would expect women to be victims of crime, but this time round, they have been linked to criminal gangs terrorising residents of Kampala Metropolitan Police (KMP) area.
This was after it emerged on July 7 that 15 women were among 58 suspects arrested in connection with the rising cases of armed robbery, burglary, and fraud in Kampala, Wakiso, and Mukono districts.
Unlike the past two years where crime syndicates busted across the country comprised only men, the heightened security operations to curb the rising crime in the past four months have seen women being netted as suspects.
The deputy KMP publicist, Luke Owoyesigyire, said most of the suspects who were youth, were arrested in an intelligence-led security swoop conducted in Wakiso on Tuesday night.
Owoyesigyire said the operation was conducted along the Northern Bypass near Busega and within the new Busega market.
“Operatives are targeting a group of youth who waylay people at night and those stealing from motorists during traffic jams,” he said.
Do councillors shield burglars?
As the crackdown continues on armed robbers targeting supermarkets, security agencies led by the Police have accused local council leaders at the village level of shielding criminals.
Operatives attached to Police’s Directorate of Crime Intelligence said local council officials “no longer update the village registers — one of the requirements agreed upon in the fight against crime”.
Under the arrangement, local council leaders are supposed to provide security with regular updates of details about residents in their areas.
He said the suspects rent homes from where they emerge to waylay their victims before fleeing those areas.
On Monday, July 4, Police spokesperson Fred Enanga said suspects arrested over burglaries in Nansana were residents of Najjera in Wakiso district.
The details emerged after the Police’s Flying Squad Unit picked up more suspects linked to armed attacks in the Mukono district.
So far, four have been arrested over the recent armed robbery at Spice Supermarket in Mukono district.
A total of 10 suspects arrested over panga attacks were taxi conductors and vendors, according to the Police.
“Several youths are unemployed and they have turned to abuse drugs, which fuels attacks and robberies,” a Police officer said.
The latest wave of insecurity has been linked to the spike in commodity prices, which has had a huge bearing on the rise in crime across the country with Wakiso and Mukono being the most hit.
The Police spokesperson recently said the soaring commodity prices were partly to blame for the rising crime cases. Enanga said this was not affecting Uganda only, but the world at large.