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Incidents That Shaped Uganda’s Security In 2018

 

As curtains come down on 2018, it goes without saying that this, like a few recent years has been eventful in terms of high profile crimes, some of which shook the nation to the core.

ChimpReports is now running through some that topped the lot, writes Arafat Nzito.

As Early as January, the nation was hit with a sophisticated crime wave of kidnaps for ransom, extortions and murder. On the second day of the year, Mr Francis Ekalungar who was the former chief accountant of case clinic was kidnapped in broad day light from the streets of Kampala, an incident that raised tension to the public.

A day after the kidnap, Ekalungar’s dead body was discovered in Makindye a Kampala suburb all burnt beyond recognition.

The brutal incident sparked a joint security operation to hunt down the suspects in the murder which led into bursting of a criminal cartel led by a one Kiwalabye Huzairu.

Kiwalabye, a young brother to Hajji Abdallah Kitatta of the Bodaboda confessed to the murder.

Investigations into Ekalungar’s murder led to the crackdown on Kitatta’s organization, which was prior heavily politicized and virtually untouchable.

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Kitatta and other members of the Bodaboda 2010 were later arrested and detained by the military where they still face charges related to possession of firearms and military equipment.

In February, kidnappers hit again and dragged the nation in disarray, this time targeting Susan Magara, daughter to a prominent businessman and owner of Bwendero dairy farm limited.

The criminals held Magara, who was working as an accountant from February 7th for 21days, demanding a ransom of USD 1million.

After a futile search and negotiations by Magara family with the criminal gang, the kidnappers later killed Magara and dumped her body on 28 February at Kitiko Village between Kigo and Kajjansi along the Entebbe express highway.

The incident widely exposed a weakness in the security agencies as the President revealed that he too played a role in securing the victim but failed.

Generals Fall

In March, the President and Commander in Chief of the armed forces took a strategic change in the security agencies which saw then Inspector General of Police Kale Kayihura relieved of his duties in the Uganda police force.

In the changes announced on the presidential Twitter handle, Security minister Lt. Gen. Henry Tumukunde was also fired and replaced by General Elly Tumwine.

Gen Kayihura a self-confessed ruling NRM party cadre was the longest serving IGP; having been appointed in 2005.

His tenure however was stained by an unprecedented spate of criminality like murders, kidnaps, armed robberies.

At one point this year, when asked about the fight between police and Internal Security Organization (ISO) under Gen Tumukunde, Museveni said the fight was between the top leadership and not the officials.

However, it was established that the climax of Tumukunde and Kayihura’s troubles seemed to have been the kidnap of 28-year-old Susan Magara on February 7 and her eventual murder after 21 days in captivity.

At Magara’s burial in Hoima, Tumukunde admitted that government had failed to rescue her and asked citizens to watch over themselves and their property.

The former police boss was later arrested and charged by the general court martial with various cases which were later dropped.

Assassinations

In june, the nation was again shocked by the brutal assassination of Arua municipality MP the late Hon. Ibrahim Abiriga.

 

Unknown assailants ridding on motorcycles gunned down the legislator and his brother while on their way home in Matugga.

Exactly after three months later, assailants gunned down former Buyende district police commander ASP Muhammad Kirumira from Bulenga as he drove home.

In reaction to the increasing violent crime rate, President Museveni issued nine new security strategies to curtail what he referred to as “urban terrorism”

In a bid to effect the strategy, the President commissioned the national security camera project in which 5000 cameras are to be erected in Kampala metropolitan.

While commissioning the temporary camera control center at Natete Police Division, President Museveni said that by installing surveillance cameras across the country will help reduce on urban terrorism.

Relatedly, the inspector general of police Mr Okoth Martin Ochola has since restructured the police administration by effecting a number reshuffles and disbandment of some units left by his predecessor.

Mr Ochola also in a bid to bridge gaps between the police and public recently introduced country wide police counter telephone lines.

The police boss said that the telephone lines at every police station and posts will enable the public to easy report crime to their near by police.

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