110 arrested as police crackdown on criminal gangs in Jinja

The arrest comes days after the murder of Jinja-based journalist Rogers Kifubangabo whose body was discovered dead on Monday in Budhumbuli, Bugembe division, Jinja city.

Kiira Regional Police Spokesperson, SP James Mubi speaking to some of the visitors to the detained suspects at Nalufenya Police Station in Jinja City on Thursday afternoon (Ohoto/Isabirye Simon Peter)

JINJA, UGANDA: Police in Kiira Region are holding at least 110 youths including a village defence secretary arrested in a joint security operation against criminality in Jinja city and Jinja district, eastern Uganda.

The suspects most of whom were arrested on Wednesday night are currently detained at Nalufenya Police Station in Jinja City.

The arrest comes days after the murder of Rogers Kifubangabo, a Jinja-based journalist and son of Busoga Kingdom Minister Michael Kifubangabo, whose body was discovered dead on Monday in Budhumbuli, Bugembe division, Jinja city.

Kiira Regional Police spokesperson SP James Mubi confirmed the operation mainly targeted areas of Bugembe division, especially Budhumbuli East, Budhumbuli West, Wanyama, Katende, Nakanyonyo, Namulesa, Mafubira zone C, Buwekula, among others.

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“We have camped in different areas to handle a joint security operation and today we have managed to arrest at least 110 suspects. We shall screen these suspects and a number of them shall appear in court to answer different charges,” SP Mubi said.

“Nobody is above the law. As long as you engage in criminal activity, the police will arrest you. We will screen the suspects and those who fall on the wanted list of cases reported will be taken to court,” Mr Mubi added.

Some of the suspects arrested in the operation paraded at Nalufenya Police Station in Jinja City

Police said that despite the recent murder of Rogers Kifubangabo, police have been continuously conducting operations against criminality and have since ensured that people can conduct their business without being interrupted.

Without revealing details and for purposes of not jeopardizing investigations, SP Mubi told DailyExpress that investigations into the murder of Kifubangabo are progressing well and that suspects will be arrested and charged at any time.

“The perpetrators who killed Rogers Kifubangabo will be arrested at any time and we shall charge them. We have reached a certain point in investigating this matter but we can’t tell you our plans,” Mubi added.

He however urged politicians to avoid politicizing security operations especially when they come up with baseless statements, but instead join hands with police for a collective role in ensuring the security of the region.

“We don’t expect any politician to make political statements whenever we’re conducting these operations and it means you’re among the elements terrorizing our region in case you come up with baseless political statements,” Mubi said adding that police will continue conducting these operations for a secure region.

Local leaders speak out

Mr Godfrey Kibuuka, the LC1 chairperson of Wanyange Lake Village in Bugembe Ward, Jinja North Division, however, accused Police of carrying out an operation without informing the local leaders, saying they subsequently ended up arresting innocent people, including Mr Mugoya.

According to Mr Kibuuka, by arresting Mr Mugoya, Police had shown their “unpreparedness” and lack of knowledge of the people they targeted during the operation.

“On several occasions, whenever we try to involve the Police by submitting details of the criminal gangs in the area, they do not arrest them. If they are arrested, they are released without the knowledge of local leadership,” said Mr Kibuuka.

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Ms Susan Namulondo, the Wanyange Lake Village Secretary for Development, said arresting Mr Mugoya, who she claimed had gone to solve a dispute between a landlord and tenant was not good.

Ms Namulondo said the public will lose trust in the Police if they don’t work closely with the local leaders because they know who does what and where in the area.

Mr Moses Kudhaga, a resident of the Wanyama-Katamba cell in Jinja North Division, said three of his tenants were picked up inside their rooms.

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