By Innocent Anguyo and Vivian Agaba
Most of the cars stolen in Uganda end up being sold in Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), South Sudan and Rwanda, police has revealed.
Asan Kasingye, the director Interpol Uganda has revealed.
Describing the chain of theft of cars, Kasingye noted that theft of cars in Kampala was masterminded by a gang operating around Arua Park in down town Kampala and neighbouring garages.
Other than stolen cars being wholly trafficked out of the country, Kasingye said some thieves disassembled vehicles before transporting them across the border in a bid to avoid being caught since police monitors highways.
Kasingye also noted that Uganda was both a transit route and market for cars stolen in the East African region and beyond.
Police recently busted a gang of youthful Rwandans who reportedly stole vehicles in Kigali and sold them in Kampala.
According to Kasingye, the thieves were arrested and extradited to Rwanda to face trial.
“There has also been an organized criminal gang involved in stealing high value vehicles from Japan, UK and Dubai and selling them to unsuspecting Ugandans. But with the help of Interpol, we made operations and recovered some of the stolen vehicles and we are looking for a way of taking them back to their respective countries of origin,” Kasingye said.
He however noted that Ugandans found to have conspired with the thieves to steal the cars will equally be prosecuted.
On the whole, Kasingye said theft of vehicles had declined in the country as a result of the operation Usalaama undertaken in July last year.
“Usalaama’ operations aim was to curb theft of motor vehicles, drugs, human trafficking, and firearms across the two regions. The operation was simultaneously undertaken in all Interpol countries on the continent.
The operation in Uganda discovered 120 cars suspected to have been stolen from UK and Australia.
Throughout the region, over 200 top-of-the-range cars were recovered during the police operations.
The cars include Land Rover (Discovery) and Range Rover, all flag ship brands of UK-made cars.
At least 10 car bonds in Kampala were also investigated as Police sought clues on how the stolen cars were imported.
Led by the Eastern Africa Police Chiefs Cooperation Organization (EAPCCO) and the Southern African Regional Police Chiefs Cooperation Organization (SARPCCO), the operation was directly supported by Interpol’s regional bureaus (RBs) in Nairobi and Harare.
The operation carried out in about 27 member states also culminated in the rescue of more than 300 human trafficking victims, the seizure of drugs, guns and stolen vehicles and the recovery of smuggled goods including ivory and diamonds.
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Stolen Ugandan cars end up in DRC, South Sudan and Rwanda