At least 30 people have been arrested in a police-led joint security operation in Uganda’s capital city Kampala.
Deputy Kampala Metropolitan Police spokesperson Luke Owoyesigire said security forces swung into action after being informed that a group of suspected thugs was planning to disrupt the presidential nomination exercise starting tomorrow, November 2.
“We have moved to different places of Kampala such as Kawempe, Makindye and Muntungo where we recovered tyres, fuel in jerrycans and drums among other items which suspects intended to use for tomorrow’s violence,” said Owoyesigire.
Asked why police was certain about the suspects’ motive, Owoyesigire said they “opened up about their plans and told us where these items (fuel and tyres) were kept. We have the exhibits.”
The nomination exercise will be held at the cricket grounds, Kyambogo, a Kampala suburb.
So far, 10 Presidential Aspirants, including the incumbent Yoweri Museveni, are expected to participate in the nomination exercise.
Earlier on Sunday, police boss Okoth Ochola said security forces consider the nominations a potential target for threats and other vulnerabilities that could significantly affect the entire exercise.
He said include acts of civil disobedience such as sabotage, street violence strikes and demonstrations, defiance campaigns, provoking security forces into violent confrontations, intimidation and minor criminal activity such as; simple robbery, looting, vandalism and pick pocketing.
“Other crimes of extra ordinary nature include, terrorism and cybercrime,” said Ochola.
The political affiliation of the suspects arrested in today’s operation remains unclear.
However, officials told ChimpReports that many of the suspects had expressed loyalty to National Unity Platform (NUP) led by presidential Robert Kyagulanyi alias Bobi Wine.
“So far, we are still investigating all that (political affiliations). What we know is that this group is called Magic 17,” said Owoyesigire when pressed by ChimpReports.
Bobi was not readily available for comment today.
He also shared photos of pangas and empty bottles which he said the group intended to use for violence.
As of Sunday evening, the joint security operation was still underway in several parts of the city.
Ochola today warned political actors and groups “that are still defiant and mobilizing Boda Boda riders and militias onto the streets; and ferrying supporters from upcountry into illegal processions and rallies; we are closely monitoring them.”
He added: “Therefore, any Presidential Aspirant who mobilizes boda bodas for a procession risks being arrested including those boda boda riders. We have plans to respond proportionately, in the face of violent crime, which may include the use of teargas to disperse these violent groups and arrest the culprits for prosecution.”