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Security says organised gangs planning to disrupt Polls, 11 held

By Vision Reporters

Added 22nd August 2020 01:40 PM

Security agencies have secured video footage showing how the suspected gangsters were snatching firearms from Police at polling stations.

Security says organised gangs planning to disrupt Polls, 11 held

Youth engage in a fist fight during voting at Kyapotani polling station in Mbarara city.

Security agencies have secured video footage showing how the suspected gangsters were snatching firearms from Police at polling stations.

A joint security team is investigating suspected criminal gangs allegedly planning to disrupt elections in the country.

The director of the Police's Crime Intelligence, Brig. Chris Ddamulira Sserunjogi, told New Vision that "gangs have been hired and trained to disrupt elections."

"Eleven suspects, including the ringleader that caused mayhem at Bat Valley Primary School polling station during the youth elections on Monday, have been arrested," Ddamulira said. The gang allegedly gravely assaulted an NRM female youth contestant.

BEING TRAINED IN GYMS

Sserunjogi said preliminary investigations indicate that "they are training in gyms and have also acquired skills in grabbing weapons from security officers."

Another senior officer, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said they have information that the groups are trying to intimidate people. "They are trying to create a climate of fear. We shall clump them down.

We are firmly against such acts of violence," the officer said. Security agencies have secured video footage showing how the suspected gangsters were snatching firearms from Police at polling stations.

The Police have picked 11 suspects and detained them at Kawempe and Kampala Central Police Station.

The suspects at CPS Kampala were identified as Emmanuel Tebajukira alias Jimmy, Richard Lubega and Mohammed Lubega.

Those in custody at Kawempe Police Station include Joachim Kimera and Twaha Nkaata. Others are Daniel Kato Kigundu, 24; Patrick Luyimba, 28; Julius Katerega, 26 — all said to be students.

Others are Ackleo, 30; Kiwanuka; Tonny Lukyamuzi, 30, reportedly a businessman and Jamilla Kalyango Mwanje, 25.

PRESIDENT SENDS WARNING

President Yoweri Museveni, while addressing NRM's National Executive Committee on Tuesday, warned people who were involved in attacking and intimidating voters.

"Do not intimidate people. People were being attacked. Our girl near Kisekka Market, who was contesting for a youth position, was attacked and beaten.

The ones who beat her will pay. You have absolutely no right to attack anyone. "You will see what NRM means. Any Police officer who does not discipline these people will go to look after goats. People are attacked when the Police are present?

What is Police for? It will not happen again," Museveni told NEC members. According to Police, as election officials at Kisekka Market were setting up the necessary facilities for voting to commence, a group of youth attacked them and snatched their register, prompting Police intervention.

The Police escorted the officials with materials to Bat Valley, where voting normally takes place. It is alleged that later, the group stormed the polling station, but they were denied access by the Police that was guarding the EC officials.

In the meantime, the female youth, who was seeking to contest on the NRM ticket, arrived at the entrance, only to be assaulted by the group allegedly donning red attire. The Police arrested Tebajukira and Lubega over the incident. According to Police, several other suspects are still on the run.

The Kampala Metropolitan North Regional Police commander, Peter Nkulega, said the suspects and others still at large, orchestrated violence at a polling station targeting to steal a Police firearm. "They succeeded, but we pursued them and recovered the gun," Nkulega said.

However, according to the statement recorded by Kimera, there was a scuffle and a soldier got angry and threatened to shoot voters. This reportedly prompted the residents to confiscate the firearm which they say they later handed over to Police.

Grabbing guns from officers

The Police also say in Bujuuko on Mityana Road, a group of youth attacked the Police, to allegedly steal a firearm. During the scuffle, one person was shot and is nursing bullet wounds, the Police said. The group reportedly drove towards Mityana in a convoy and was involved in an accident at Bujuuko while speeding to evade arrest.

Following a tip-off by their colleagues in Bujuuko, the Police in Buloba intercepted one of the cars and a fight ensued. The group allegedly grabbed an officer's firearm and during the scuffle, one person was shot. Police arrested one suspect, while others fled.

To intensify the fight against crime, the deputy Inspector General of Police, Maj. Gen. Muzeeyi Sabiiti, has issued new guidelines for all commanders.

HOTLINES FOR LOCAL COMMUNITIES

According to Sabiiti, each Police station countrywide will have a counter hotline, besides the known mobile telephone numbers of the commanders. He says the hotline must be made known to the community. Once the hotline is called, the Police officer on duty is expected to alert the area rapid response team to act immediately.

The Police also want the Local Council (village) chairpersons to register all residents afresh to weed out criminals. The Police will also work with local authorities to mark routes and residences in order to make it easy for the response team to establish the exact location that may need help.

Speaking to New Vision, Sabiiti said they will work out a plan to ensure that some roads are lit and bushes cleared. He said dark spots and bushes work as hideouts for criminals.

The deputy Police boss said they have, in the past few months, documented criminal gangs and dismantled several of them. He said they have put in place a WhatsApp number — 070-7-114114 — to which members of the public can send text messages.

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