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Wednesday,September 30,2020 12:41 PM

Talk back: Your safety starts with you

By Vision Reporter

Added 1st May 2008 03:00 AM

A wave of insecurity has swept Kampala over the last few months. Many people have lost their lives, while others have been injured or robbed. Unlike in 2002 when thugs who terrorised Kampala had guns, these days, they are armed with knives, pangas and clubs.

A wave of insecurity has swept Kampala over the last few months. Many people have lost their lives, while others have been injured or robbed. Unlike in 2002 when thugs who terrorised Kampala had guns, these days, they are armed with knives, pangas and clubs.

By Edward Ssekabanja

A wave of insecurity has swept Kampala over the last few months. Many people have lost their lives, while others have been injured or robbed. Unlike in 2002 when thugs who terrorised Kampala had guns, these days, they are armed with knives, pangas and clubs.

Investigations have shown that most times the thugs reside in the areas where they commit the crimes. They also use drugs and other intoxicating substances.

Although drug abuse is a crime, the laws are weak. For instance, even if someone was arrested smoking marijuana, with several sticks in his pockets, the law requires that they should first be taken to the government chemist at Wandegeya, to confirm that they abused the drugs.

Since the law does not allow the Police to detain suspects for more than 48 hours without taking them to court, these people are released without being charged. Even if someone is convicted, the sentence is so short that it does not deter culprits from committing the crime again. There is, therefore, need for Parliament to pass tough laws to fight drug abuse.

There are several ways through which thugs attack people. They ambush unsuspecting people in isolated areas at night and torture them into submission. To avoid this, do not move at night, unless you cannot help it. Walking alone at night is risky.

When you see three or more people walking in a single file, at least 10 metres apart, be suspicious. Once you enter their line, those in the middle will attack you and the rest will reinforce them in case you seem to overpower them.

The thugs also have a new and more dangerous type of weapon, ‘Akabadi’, that may be the cause of most of the deaths. This is a piece of wood, which they tie on one of their hands and use it to strangle the victim. They cover the wood with their clothes and when he grabs you, he strangles you using this piece of wood. Because it is hard, the impact on your neck is enormous. As he chokes you, others are ransacking your pockets for your valuables.

On many occasions, thugs have ambushed victims as they enter their gates. To avoid this, install security lights near your gate and before you reach your gate, call the people home and inform them that you are on your way. This way, you will not have to spend so much time hooting at the gate. You will also get help from people at home in case you are attacked.

In some instances, girls have been waylaid at night, raped and murdered. First line of defence here is to avoid moving at night. Women should also avoid walking at night with people they do not know, especially those found in bars.

Thugs also break into people’s homes during the day, using master keys or acid to open padlocks. Such robberies can be stopped if everyone cared about what goes on in their neighbours’ homes. This is a time to have good neighbours. If you are going away, ask your neighbour to keep an eye over your house.

Homes have also been attacked when residents are there. Traditionally, a man never slept in the house without any weapon for self-defence. I am not telling you to fight against the thugs because this may be dangerous, but some people have effectively scared off thugs using pangas, clubs and bars. A whistle, though not a big weapon, can also scare off thugs. You can use it to alert your neighbours in case you hear anything suspicious.

Lastly, the rising crime rate can be attributed to laxity in community security systems. Local councils should set up village security committees of at least 10 people to fight crime. Residents should also contribute sh500 per month to maintain the security committees.

The writer is the RDC, Kawempe Division

Talk back: Your safety starts with you

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