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Set up vigilante groups to fight violent crime

By Vision Reporter

Added 19th October 2008 03:00 AM

ACCORDING to media reports, there is an unprecedented increase of armed robberies and violent crimes by criminal gangs in various parts of Kampala. Most of the attacks have resulted into deaths. For example, a 17 year-old-boy, Ronald Nsubuga, was attacked by thugs who wanted his mobile phone.

ACCORDING to media reports, there is an unprecedented increase of armed robberies and violent crimes by criminal gangs in various parts of Kampala. Most of the attacks have resulted into deaths. For example, a 17 year-old-boy, Ronald Nsubuga, was attacked by thugs who wanted his mobile phone.

James Sonii

ACCORDING to media reports, there is an unprecedented increase of armed robberies and violent crimes by criminal gangs in various parts of Kampala. Most of the attacks have resulted into deaths. For example, a 17 year-old-boy, Ronald Nsubuga, was attacked by thugs who wanted his mobile phone.

Sheila Isengona, an auditor in a micro finance institution, FAULU Uganda Limited, was wounded while on her way home. In the past, a similar wave of violent crime resulted into mob justice because residents felt the Government was handling suspected robbers with kids’ gloves.

Patience ran out and people decided to take the law into their hands by killing or injuring suspected robbers as a means of venting their anger. This led to a decline in incidences of violent crime but mob justice is illegal.

The robbers are mostly youths who are not working but have adopted negative social behaviour such as taking drugs. When they have no money to meet their needs, they go around snatching people’s valuables.

The situation has created fear and uncertainty in the minds of the ordinary city residents who cannot afford hiring of private security guards to secure their residences. As long as this feeling of insecurity is not addressed, people’s trust in the Government that it can provide for their protection will gradually erode.

The Police should put in place measures to end violent crime by bringing the criminals to book. Short of this, residents may once again resort to mob justice. The Police should move to slums, comb hideouts of these thugs and destroy them.

Community vigilante groups should be established in every community and should be registered with the Ministry of Justice. The vigilantes should work in collaboration with the Police in curbing violent crime.

There should be more funding for the Violent Crime Crack Unit of the Police. The Police should also be authorised to carry out cordon and search operations in homes or to raid suspected hideouts in search of illegal arms.

We should also consider the possibility of making armed robbery a non-bailable offence.

The writer is an Exchange Programme Participant,
Community Mobilisation and Child Support Section ANPPCAN Uganda Chapter

Set up vigilante groups to fight violent crime

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