The Directorate of Criminal Investigations arrested and detained two police officers for allegedly selling guns to criminal gangs who use them to commit crimes.
The officers under investigation were arrested following a joint security investigation into a notorious criminal cartel that was operating in the Northern districts of Oyam and Nyowa.
The joint operation team, commanded by Col. Allan Kyagungu and D/ACP Olugu Francis, Ag. CP General Crimes, was on July 29, 2020 dispatched to Oyam and Nwoya, arrested and detained five suspects following an intelligence report about a gang of notorious poachers in the area.
“In the same vain, it had been reported that the poachers were in possession of so many illegal guns that were not only used for poaching but also in terrorizing the people especially travelers along Kampala-Pakwach-Arua Road, and conducting robberies in some homesteads,” said ASP Charles Twine in a statement regarding the operation.
He said that intelligence reports indicated that the poaching in the Murchison National Park was highly organized, involving various people that connive to commit the crime and even deal in illicit trafficking of wildlife species.
During the course of the operation, a one Ongomo Peter, a notorious poacher was arrested and on interrogation, Twine said that he revealed to the investigators that he bought one of the guns from a police officer whom he identified as Opiyo Andrew, attached to Jinja Road Police Station, at 2 million shillings.
“Ongomo asserted that he was connected to the Police Officer (seller) by his brother in-law called Akona Fred, a resident of Naguru Kampala in 2016,” he said.
“Following this revelation, PC Opiyo Andrew Steven, attached to Jinja Road Police Station and CPL Emaru Richard, the In Charge armory at Jinja Road were arrested and interrogated accordingly,” he added.
“Although they denied the allegations, the investigators clearly established that the gun, as revealed by Opiyo, is a Police gun that was signed fraudulently by a hoax name at Jinja Road Police Station, unfortunately destined to the hands of criminals,” the statement further reads.
During the operation, the joint team also profiled other people who are said to be in possession of illegal guns and that they are vigorously being pursued.
Police said that the recovered guns are going to be examined with the view of, among other things, establishing whether they have been used at any other murder cases that have been reported and scenes of crime examined by the investigators.
“If the results of the examined guns come to be positive, then inevitably the suspects will be interrogated to establish their involvement in such vicious crimes,” said Twine.
He further warned the culprits who are still at large to surrender the guns that are illegally in their possession and handover themselves, or else they risk being put out of action, for Police cannot afford to allow the criminals to keep terrorizing the community as well as poaching restricted wildlife species.
The investigations that commenced following this operation are nearly concluded and on completion, the suspects will be charged with various crimes as provided for by the law.