On Wednesday, last week, a gang of thieves raided two villages in Bwebajja, meting terror onto the residents.
Charles Etukuri followed up to find out why the Police did not respond to residents’ calls for help and why no suspect been brought to book.
Residents of Bwebajja Jjanyi and KKB Zone along Entebbe Road in Wakiso are still living in fear and shock after an armed gang attacked their village.
The gang injured close to 40 people and robbed them of their property.
A week after the incident, the residents still treat any stranger with suspicion.
Investigations into the attacks have so far yielded no fruits and no culprit has been brought to book.
When Sunday Vision visited the area on Wednesday, some of the residents had abandoned their homes to live with friends, after receiving more threats.
Some were still psychologically traumatised, while others are admitted in different clinics and hospitals with severe injuries they sustained on the night of the attack.
The chairperson of Bwebajja Jjanyi LC1, Jimmy Kimala, who survived the attack says the attackers struck at around midnight and they moved from one house to another torturing their victims for about three hours.
He says they were armed with pangas, axes and sticks.
“They were between 10-15 people and were being commanded by a woman.
They were mostly young people.
They asked for money and phones,” Kimala explains.
He says they targeted people living in small houses and over 25 homesteads were attacked.
One of the survivors of the attack, Michael Maseruka, a guard, says when he heard an alarm from the neighbourhood, he went out of his house to find out what was happening.
“I was suddenly accosted by close to five people; they kicked and beat me. When I made an alarm, they took off, but by the time they left, I was bleeding heavily,” he says.
Another resident, Rashid Kasumba, said: “I woke up and saw a bright light shining in my face. About seven people had entered my house and there was a lady among them.
She ordered me in Kiswahili to sit down.’’
‘‘They also ordered me to hand over all the money and phones in the house.
I pleaded with them that I had no money, but they insisted. They then started beating me up and even when I gave them the little money I had, they, continued hitting me,” he adds.
Even when some of the victims were seriously injured, they feared coming out of their houses or calling for help.
“They threatened to kill us, if we made an alarm,” says another resident.
Some of the residents were locked in their houses to stop them from going out to help their neighbours.
“After attacking a house, they would lock it from outside and in some cases, they used big stones to break into houses,” says Kimala.
A health officer at the nearby Namulundu Medical Centre says they started receiving patients after 3:00am.
“Within a short time, we were overwhelmed and had over 20 patients with different injuries. Some were critical cases that we couldn’t immediately handle. We referred them to Mulago Hospital, while others were given first aid and discharged,” the health officer noted.
Among those who were rushed to Mulago was Harriet Nakku, who still cannot speak because of the nature of injuries she sustained.
Another victim, Lawrence Ssekito, who was also stabbed on the same day, died at Mulago Hospital a few days after admission.
A week after the attack, some of the residents still fear to go back to their homes.
“We are living in fear. We don’t know when they will attack us again,” says a resident.
The residents are also appealing for an immediate change in the Police in the area.
During a meeting last week, they resolved to petition the Police leadership to immediately effect changes.
They are also calling for increased Police patrol in the area, especially after reports emerged that the attacks could have been clearly planned and were a move by some rich men to intimidate the residents out of their properties.
Bwebajja is one of the most upcoming upscale areas, where prices of properties have suddenly shot as people scramble for land.
Sources in the area say some months ago, some of the residents in the area were asked to sell their property, but they refused and the attacks could have been aimed at scaring them away.
However, others did not rule out petty thieves, especially some people who were evicted from the railway reserves and had nowhere to go and might have resorted to crime for survival.
Either way, the residents are praying that the investigations are fast-tracked and the suspects brought to book.
Victims say robbers asked for money, mobile phones, had machetes
Nanteza sustained a fracture in her right arm and wounds on the head.
She is being treated at Bombo Barracks Hospital.
At the time of the incident, she was in the house with her sister, Harriet
Nakku and brother, Jimmy Ssebaggala.
Nanteza’s siblings also sustained injuries during the attack.
They are nursing wounds at their home in Bwebajja after they were discharged from Mulago Hospital.
Ssebaggala, 19, a student, was stabbed on the head.
He says the thugs accessed their house after cutting the padlocks. Ssebaggala also said they cried out for help, but no one came to their rescue.
Ssebaggala’s aunt, Safina Nagujja, says they have so far spent sh300,000 on brain CT scans for two of the patients, sh120,000 on drugs and before their discharge from hospital, Nanteza’s siblings were told to buy drugs worth sh450,000.
Nagujja said they have bought only half the dose.
Joshua Mutatuula and his wife, Ruth Ayoleka, who are nursing injuries from the attack were discharged from Mulago Hospital.
They say the thugs broke into their house and demanded for money. The couple say they pleaded with them for mercy in vain.
Ayoleka says when she tried to get money from her bag, the thugs cut her on the hand and also cut Mutatuula on the head.
The assailants took off with some money and their mobile phones.
Residents blame police laxity
The slow response from the Police has raised questions, especially given testimonies from most residents that they tried contacting them for help once the attacks started.
Bwebajja area is under the Kajjansi Police Station, which is less than five kilometres from the scene of the attack.
What is more surprising is that less than two kilometres away from the scene of attack is
the Bwebajja Police post, which is supposed to be in charge of security in the area.
Sources also say the Police deploys at the nearby Akright Housing Estate, but why they did not respond to the call for help remains a mystery.
The scene of crime is also not far from the Entebbe highway. Most residents are asking where the Police was on that night of terror.
Officers at Kajjansi Police Station refused to comment and instead referred us to the Kampala Metropolitan Police spokesperson, Patrick Onyango.
In an earlier interview, Onyango attributed the attack to petty thieves, but residents dispute this, saying the gang was well-organised and seemed to have taken time to study their victims.
Onyango says investigations into the matter are ongoing.
“We urge the residents to remain calm,” he advised. Sources say the Flying Squad and the Special Investigations Unit had joined the investigations.
Ensure your neighbourhood is safe
A safe community is a community that looks out for one another. One that takes responsibility for supporting its members and ensuring that every person in that community is valued.
At the end of the day, a community that strives to keep its area and activities safe for all its members creates a vibrant and caring community that is a pleasant and enjoyable place to live together.
In order for people to feel safe, basic improvements can be put in place.
1. Security lighting is a key element in the safety of your property and can make it easy to see when you arrive home after dark.
2. Neighbours can also be an effective ally in keeping your home safe. Neighbourhood partnerships have assisted home owners in self policing the homes in their immediate area.
3. Should your home be robbed, there is a way to assist the Police in the recovery of your personal property. By engraving personal information on your valuables, it may make it difficult for burglars to sell off your property.
4. Close Circuit Television (CCTV) can also provide a means of identifying those who may be lurking on your property.
How thugs attacked 25 Bwebajja families