Kampala, Uganda | URN | There was tension and race for safety in underworld of the city centre as the new Kampala Central Police Station [CPS] operations commander, ASP David Nahamya, launched a hunt for suspected street muggers.
In the operation that started on Tuesday 2, February 2021 at 1pm, 35 mostly youthful men were nabbed from Arua Park, Wilson Street and corridors of intertwined buildings.
Nahamya, who replaced ASP Ivan Nduhura, last month launched a crackdown on suspected street muggers after receiving complaints from a number of traders and people whose property has been stolen on the streets. Many cases of street mugging, theft and pick-pocketing have been reported to CPS in barely a fortnight.
Some of the suspects who were taking refuge in building basements and corridors were picked with the help of covert intelligence personnel. A group of youth decided to mix with other people who were taking a rest at City Square but police picked them from others.
Julius Kitone, one of the suspects while at CPS claimed he was wrongfully arrested since he has never mugged or pick-pocketed anyone. Kitone insisted that it was by bad luck that he was found at Wilson Street at the time of the operation.
“I have never stolen from anyone and I don’t know anyone among the people I have been arrested with. I should be released because I am innocent,” Kitone said.
A police officer who took part in the operation but preferred anonymity said most of the youth arrested had been monitored using Closed Circuit Television [CCTV] cameras and wondered why they were denying.
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“We don’t just grab people from streets. In areas where we carried out the operation, there were very many youths but we did not arrest all of them,” another policeman in the operation said. These ones we have been monitoring using cameras and our covert teams. We have the right suspects.”
By press time, all the suspects had been gathered at CPS reception as their particulars were being recorded. Police officers said they would screen the suspects so that those who are innocent are released unconditionally.