When Lillian Tuhaise, 23, a vendor at Kalerwe Market in Kampala did not return home on Saturday night, her family assumed she was still held up by business errands as has been the routine.
However, Tuhaise, a resident of Nansana in Wakiso district was found unconscious along Kabaka Road in Mukono on Saturday with facial bruises sustained from beatings inflicted on her by her alleged kidnappers in Mukono district.
A case of disappearance had since been reported at Kalerwe Police Station vide SD 08/23/032019 according to the deputy Kampala Metropolitan Police spokesperson, Luke Owoyesigyire.
According to Owoyesigyire, on Saturday morning at around 10:00 am at Kalerwe Market, the Tuhaise was doused with an anaesthetic by thugs who pretended to be buying fish.
Without divulging further details, Owoyesigyire said both the victim and her captors agreed to go pick payment for their purchase in Kajjansi. However, along the way, they stole from Tuhaise sh6m and 15 sacks of silverfish (mukene) valued at sh10m.
“As they drove in a tinted car (registration number withheld) to pick the payment, Tuhaise’s captors instead diverted her while unconscious, robbed and abandoned her at Mukono Municipality near YMCA school, where people later came to her rescue and notified Police,” Owoyesigyire said.
Police responded to the emergency and later when the victim regained consciousness, she narrated her ordeal before her relatives were contacted to pick her.
One of the kidnaps that shocked the country was that of 28-year-old Susan Magara, the daughter of city businessman, John Fitzgerald Magara. She was kidnapped on February 7 and killed 21 days later after her killers sought a ransom of $1m (sh3.6b) from her family.
Magara was a cashier for the Hoima-based Bwendero Dairy Farm, but she was based at the farm’s procurement offices located along Kabaka Anjagala Road in Mengo, Kampala.
Police said there was a new wave of crime where bank employees collude with criminal gangs to kidnap and rob clients who have withdrawn huge sums of cash.
Simon Mulongo, a security expert said criminals have advanced from pick-pocketing to direct attacks, warning that the Police have to revise their methods of cracking down hard-core criminals.
“It is a wave that comes in at a certain time and it is related to income,” Mulongo said during a telephone interview with New Vision, recently.
A report by the Police’s Flying Squad Unit revealed that they broke the racket that orchestrates the act but warned families to vet their housemaids before employing them.
“Criminals are loving the daring kidnap act because it is lucrative. Even some family member’s stage kidnaps to reap from their parents,” excerpts of the report read.
According to the report, “School going children from wealthy families are faking kidnaps to negotiate ransom fees from their parents/guardians. We probed two cases in Kampala and Kayunga respectively.”
In other cases, parents that have disputes or separated in their marriages pick children from school without the others notice to forcefully have custody of the child, prompting reporting kidnap cases, according to the report.
Top Kidnap cases were reported at police stations in different areas that include; Kampala (Bugolobi, Kawempe, Old Kampala, Kira, Kireka, Kasangati, Kasubi and Katwe), Kyenjonjo, Mukono, Mpigi and Nakaseke districts.
The recently released annual crime report indicated that a total of 216 persons were registered as victims of Kidnap/Abductions in 2017. Of these, 191 were recovered and united with relatives, 22 are still missing and 03 were killed.
Police is yet to release the 2018 crime report.