Kampala – A section of Boda boda riders and owners in Kampala have accused police of working with motorcycle-riding gangs who have intensified attacks against city dwellers.
Over recent weeks, different gangs have been captured on security cameras intercepting their victims and robbing them of money and property. Gang robbery incidents have been recorded by CCTVs at Jinja road traffic lights, Mawanda road, Old Kampala and Nateete.
So far, 18 suspects have been charged and remanded over the criminal activities.
The most recent recorded incident happened around Corner House along Mawanda road where a gang of about 12 men riding on motorcycles intercepted Jiwan Lal, an Indian national, and robbed him of UGX 5 million.
Police, together with sister security agencies have already arrested some of the suspects who were involved in the attack on Jiwan, an accountant with Rigil Agro Peck Limited in Kololo.
Kevin Ssendegeya, the chairman Security Boda-Boda stage at Total Corner, says that there is a group known as ‘Nato’, which they reported to the police but nothing was done. Ssendegeya alleges that policemen instead revealed the names of whistleblowers to the criminals, who have since carried out revenge attacks against them.
Yasin Mubangizi, the chairman Boda-Boda stage at Shoprite near Clock Tower, says that whenever they report the suspected criminals masquerading as boda boda riders to police, the officers simply say that they don’t have control over them.
Police also arrested members of another gang that used motorcycles to stage a robbery in Mityana district.
Police said some of the criminals came from a boda boda stage at Cooper Complex and connived with Dennis Kyeptoyek, the commander of Nyanzi police station who was also apprehended.
The gangsters were identified as boda boda riders from Cooper Complex in Kampala who were recruited into robbery activities by Moses Serunkuma, a truck driver.
They were identified as Raphael Semaganda, Peter Mukalazi, Yoweri Kironde, Ibra Kyoita, Topher, and a one Andrew.
Richard Sonko, the defense secretary at Care Corner boda boda stage, says that they know the robbers masquerading as boda boda riders, but whenever they report them, police instead release them immediately.
Those arrested and charged in connection to the Mawanda road robbery include; Asibu Takuba alias Stephen, Jimmy Sserwada, Gadafi Kasibante, Jonah Ssemanda, Richard Mulema, Sharif Akidi, Aloysius Ssewakilyanga, Latif Mawejje, Salim Babu, Farouk Ssekaganda alias Sharif, and one Swaibu.
Faroq Mwiru, the defense secretary at Ben-Kiwanuka boda boda stage, said there is a need to provide reflector jackets with the names of every rider and the stage he is attached to.
Luke Owoyesigyire, the deputy Kampala police spokesperson, said the problem with boda boda whistleblowers is they don’t name the particular police officers who allegedly work with criminals.
“We held a good meeting with the boda boda leaders early this week. None of the leaders came up with such allegations during our meeting. However, if there is anyone with such information they should bring them forward at KMP,” Owoyesigyire said.
Mudasiru Irumba, the chairman of Mega Standard boda boda stage where the ‘Nato’ gang often operates, said these are remnants of the infamous Boda-Boda 2010 militia that was terrorizing them during the reign of Inspector General of Police Gen Kale Kayihura.