Boda Boda riders warned over increase in targeted attacks, robberies

Police spokesperson Fred Enanga addressing the media at a weekly press briefing on Monday, March 18, 2024 at Naguru Police Heaquarters, Kampala

Kampala, (UG):- Police have issued a stern warning to owners and riders of motorcycles to stay vigilant and take precautionary measures in the wake of boda boda-related crimes in the country.

The Police Spokesperson, SCP Fred Enanga while addressing the media at Naguru Police headquarters on Monday said over the past week, a total of eight incidents were recorded, with a disturbing tally of fatalities and attempted murders.

“Last week, 8 incidents were registered against boda bodas and riders respectively, which resulted in the murders by hitting of 4 riders, two attempted murders of riders, and two murders of suspected bodaboda thieves,” Enanga stated.

During the attacks, the police spokesperson said four motorcycles were robbed and four others were rescued in a series of incidents which unfolded with alarming frequency, leaving a trail of tragedy and loss across various communities.

The Cases

In one particular incident, Mr Enanga described that On March 12, 2024, a 22-year-old boda rider identified as Munyegena James was attacked while riding a motorcycle, registration number, UGA 152Z by unknown thugs, who left him unconscious and robbed the motorcycle that belonged to Mugeere Samim, of Bulindi zone, Kamuli Municipality.

“The victim was found lying unconscious, in the morning and rushed to Lubaga Hospital, in Kamuli, where he succumbed to the injuries. One suspect identified as Kayima Ibrahim arrested and detained in custody,” explained Enanga.

Similarly, on the same day, Ritah Nalwadda was robbed of her earnings by a deceitful customer, who was later apprehended and met a grim fate at the hands of an enraged mob.

“On the 12.3.2024, at around 4pm, an unknown boda boda rider, on motorcycle registration, number UGB 267L, approached Nalwadda Ritah at Rutete zone in Zirobwe sub county and bought fuel of Ugx 6000. The suspect handed her a Ugx 50.000 shilling note, but as the victim was sorting out his change, the suspect pounced on her, and grabbed the bundle of money from her and sped off. She raised an alarm, which attracted other boda boda rider. They gave the suspect a chase up to Lufula zone, where he jumped off the motorcycle and tried to escape. He was pursued, arrested and lynched to death by an angry mob. His motorcycle and several exhibits of sticks and bricks were recovered. Two suspects were arrested,” Mr Enanga explained.

Further violence ensued on March 13, 2024, as Kassim Sekasamba, a 24-year-old boda rider, faced a vicious attack that claimed the life of one perpetrator, while another fell victim to vigilante justice.

“He was arrested at the scene, after his associate, escaped with the robbed motorcycle, Bajaja Boxer, registration number UFQ829V. The second suspect was intercepted by an angry mob and lynched to death at Kigoma village. A killer weapon of a panga was recovered on Ssebulime Yasin of Masitowa in Nansana.”

The following day a victim only identified as, Brian, a boda boda rider, and Kamesa John became the latest casualties in a string of senseless assaults, underscoring the urgent need for increased security measures and public awareness.

“On the 14.3.2024, at around 11.30 pm a boda boda rider identified as Brian of Kisuga Cell, Galiraya sub county went to pick his mother from Kisalizi market. But on their way back, they were intercepted by two thugs, armed with a hammer, who hit the rider with a harmer and robbed his motorcycle, a Bajaj Boxer registration number UFA 364G, plus their mobile phones. The victim was rushed to Kayunga Regional Referral Hospital as inquiries continue.”

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Tragically, the onslaught continued unabated, with Ndaluhukye John and Byamukama Bernard falling victim to fatal attacks on March 15, followed by another attempted robbery thwarted by the timely intervention of community leaders on March 16.

“On the 14.3.2024, at an unknown time, one Kaweesa John, a 42 year old, boda boda rider of Bombo mile 19, was found lying unconscious along the road, between Kyamabizi – Kitungwa. He was rushed to a clinic at Kilungwa cell and further referred to Mulago National Referral Hospital, but he succumbed to the injuries along the way. The robbed motorcycle was a Bajaj Boxer, under registration number UFC 656Y.

The devastating cycle culminated in the tragic demise of Nasif Muwanga, a respected clinical officer, who fell prey to assailants just metres from his home.

“On the 17.3.2024 at around 2:30am, a one Nasif Muwanga a 45 year old, Clinical Officer, at Manje Masulita Health Centre III, Kakiri Division was attacked while being riden on a motorcycle registration number UEM 071V, Bajaj red in color, by unknown thugs, a few metres to his home in Gombe village, Wakiso Town Council.”

The victim was handling a land matter in his village. He was targeted, after the rider who was called by his wife from Kayunga trading centre, was spared with his motorcycle. The victim was rushed to Mulago National Referral Hospital where he succumbed to the injuries.

Mr Enanga explained that the safety of all bodaboda riders on various stages and routes is a top priority and that despite the recent spike in bodaboda thefts and robberies, the vice had generally declined.

However, he noted with concern that these crimes can be a gateway to other violent offences such as murder, burglary and robberies.

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“We have so far determined that most of the incidents occur when the riders are transporting passengers at night, and in isolated area. The other danger is the continuous transportation of two or more passengers who are actually robbers. We also have incidents of ambushes in isolated and dark spots with hammers and sharp instruments that used to threaten, injure and kill the riders,” he said.

As investigations into these heinous crimes continue, law enforcement authorities have urged boda boda riders and owners to exercise caution and remain vigilant at all times. The police have vowed to deploy additional resources and patrols to deter further acts of violence and bring the perpetrators to justice.

In light of these events, the community is urged to come together in solidarity and support against the scourge of boda-boda-related crime that threatens the safety and well-being of all citizens.

“This, therefore, calls upon all bodaboda riders to be observant and vigilant of their surroundings, to have a situation awareness of who is around you, take common practical senses of not picking passengers from non-gazetted areas, searching passengers being transported at night, avoid very attractive rates at night over long distances because it makes them more vulnerable, networking of stages and routes, installing audible alarms on motorcycles, and tracking devices, can help save the motorcycle, immobilizing devices, such as fuel fuse – cut-offs, kill switches and ignition can help prevent a motorcycle from starting unless a hidden switch or button is deactivated.”

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