Uganda Police Force says it will continue carrying out operations against organized crime that has turned the country into a haven for criminal gangs.
Assistant Inspector General of Police Asan Kasingye, who is the Director Interpol, made the revelation while releasing the report on an operation against human and drug trafficking, motor vehicle thefts and proliferation of arms and light weapons.
The operation which was simultaneous conducted in 25 countries in the Eastern and Southern African region rescued 35 victims who were being trafficked to South Sudan, Kuwait, South Africa, Dubai, India, Zimbabwe and Kenya. Eighteen of the victims were being trafficked for labour while two were being taken to be used in the sexual trade and one for kidney transplant.
Police arrested 37 suspects in the operations.
During the joint operation which was done by police, immigration, Internal and External security agencies, CMI and customs officials among others, police recovered 163 Kilograms of cannabis, 222 Kilograms of cannabis seed, and destroyed 82 acres of cannabis farm land.
Most of these farms were in the district of Busia in Buhehe, Buyunja and Nangondo sub counties.
During the two day-operation, the team combed vehicle garages, people’s compounds, parking yards, main routes, highways, car bonds and border areas where they inspected 3,818 motor vehicles.
Police identified six stolen vehicles, five of which were stolen in United Kingdom. These included three Range Rovers, an Audi Q7 and BMW X5.
Two of the Range Rovers, a UAR 600E and another with a personalized number plate DE were impounded and the person who had sold them was on Interpol wanted list for involvement in car theft and was arrested.
Kasingye said they would liaise with authorities in the UK to tell them how to dispose of the impounded cars.
Ninety seven vehicles were found to have altered chassis and engine numbers and colour without authority from Uganda Revenue Authority. Police also recovered 58 number plates and log books but the vehicles could not be accounted for.
All these vehicles are parked at Kololo while the Special Investigations Unit continues with investigations.
However, the Director Criminal Investigations Grace Akullo said some owners of the vehicles had kept away from the on-going investigations.
Police also conducted operations in border towns of Bor, Elegu, Vurra, Oraba, Mpondwe, Suam, Rwakhakha and Amudat. The operation which also extended to private security organisations recovered 12 small arms, and 634 rounds of ammunitions. Police also recovered 65 defective guns from private security organizations which Akullo said were the reason security guards fail to fire a bullet when they are attacked.
Though the operations covered the Eastern and Southern African countries, police could not account for how many Ugandan vehicles had been recovered in other countries.
Kasingye also reported that the Inspector General of Police, General Kale Kayihura, had made contact with his counterpart in the Democratic Republic of Congo to help recover vehicles stolen from Uganda and taken to the war-torn country. Kasingye attributed this to the lawlessness of Eastern DRC where gangs usually ask to be paid for the stolen vehicles.
In future operations the Interpol has promised to avail an aircraft to Uganda Police to conduct an aerial spray of marijuana gardens. This came after police deployed all their man power and even brought in inmates to slash marijuana gardens but failed to finish them.
Meanwhile Uganda has adopted a practice of turning away all young ladies who fail to explain their destinations or who is supposed to receive them at their point of destination when they travel. Their passports are usually confiscated and told to go back.
In future they intend to have a system where the Ministries of Education and Sports, Gender, and Internal Affairs would clear all school-going children before they can fly out of the country.