By Nathan Etengu
TEN districts in eastern Uganda were plunged into a blackout after thieves vandalised a power line connecting Tororo to Mbale.
UMEME officials in Mbale said on Friday more than 2,000 metres of copper conductors were stolen on Wednesday night from a pole on the 33kv line from Tororo to Mbale.
The theft behind Bugema ginnery on the Mbale-Tororo highway affected Mbale, Manafwa, Bududa, Pallisa, Budaka, Kumi, Sironko, Kapchorwa, Bukedea, and Soroti districts.
An official who did not want to be named said the thieves used a saw to cut down one of the poles that brought down the conductors.
He said the power line monitoring system was set up in such a manner that if a pole leaned towards the ground, the line would be disconnected. He said the thieves took advantage of the load shedding to carry out the robbery.
Acting Mbale police chief Samson Lubega and CID officer Lawrence Ebwosu said the theft was not reported to any police station in the district by Friday.
Umeme officials said the theft of power cables intensified after three suspects arrested in earlier incidents were sentenced to a caution by a Grade One Magistrateâ€™s court.
He said in one incident, thieves stole copper conductors on a line inside the UPDF 3rd division headquarters and the line to Nabumali high school had been vandalised many times.