Over the last couple of months, robbery and kidnap for both ransom and murder have become a common news headline in the districts of Kanungu and Kisoro in Southwestern Uganda. However, Police now says, they identified and dissolved the racket of the said criminals after making several arrests in the recent weeks.
Speaking to journalists at the Police headquarters in Naguru, the Police spokesperson, CP Fred Enanga, said the criminals appear to have been a well organized group and that they have today charged another seven suspects behind the criminal kidnappings in the area.
“It so happens that this has been a racket which has been operating in Kanungu, Kisoro and Queen Elizabeth targeting mostly traders from Nakasongola district who deal in fish and export it to the Eastern DRC,” Enanga said.
Mid last month, Police charged a one Byaruhanga Onesmus alias Kaliisa alias Kwonawo alias Kasurubana, a 43-year-old male resident of Kisaba cell, Kihihi town council in Kanungu district with two counts of kidnap with intent to procure a ransom, before the Chief Magistrate’s Court in Kanungu district.
He is reported to have been the mastermind of the duo kidnap of Kimberly Sue Endicott (American tourist) and her guide, Jean Paul Mirenge.
Enanga says more seven suspects in addition to Byaruhanga have today been charged with additional charges in the Chief Magistrate’s Court in Kanungu.
“We were able to get several other counts against them. Altogether we have an additional five counts of aggravated robbery and one additional count of kidnap with intention to pay a ransom,” Enanga said.
“Amongst those one we are charged today in addition to Byaruhanga Onesmas, there is Hatangimama James, 28, Mufumbira of Nyanga cell in Kanungu together with Akankwasa Joram, 22, from Nyakashozi in Kanungu district. These ones with others still at large on April 3, 2019 in Kanungu district, they robbed Turyaheebwa Jamillah of Shs 20m and USD 1,600 and £ 280,” he added.
According to Police, they are also charging Kananura Mathias, 30, resident of Kyamukunda Parish in Sheema, Mugabo Yoweri of Kanungu district, Tumwebaze Hakimu, Kyarisima Denis and Imanuraguha Adam with five counts of aggravated robbery (robbed five different persons).
“It is indicated that on August 3, 2018, these five suspects and others still at large, while at Nyamengye in Queen Elizabeth National Park in Kanungu robbed Nassolo Sauda Shs 3.2m, her national ID and her motor vehicle log book,” Enanga explained.
“In addition to that, also on August 3, 2018, the same suspects while in Kanungu district, robbed Bukoola Patrick of Shs 150,000 and two phones valued at approximately Shs 700,000 and robbed a one Saturday Julius of a phone valued at approximately Shs 300,000,” he added.
They were also charged with one count of kidnap with intention to procure a ransom when on August 3, 2018 at Nyamengye in Queen Elizabeth National Park, they allegedly kidnapped Mugabe Robert with intent to procure a ransom or benefit from deliberation of Mugabe Robert from the danger of being murdered.
Meanwhile, Police says, they are working with their counterparts from the DRC to ensure that two of the Prime suspects who were involved in the double kidnap of the American tourist (Kimberly Sue Endicott) and the Safari guide (Jean Paul Mirenge) who include Memory Derrick and Byanyima Alex alias Mayimoto, to ensure to have them transferred to Uganda and charged for the various offences they committed.
Endicott and Mirenge were abducted by four armed men in Queen Elizabeth national park on April 2 while on an evening drive together with an elderly Canadian couple.
The abductors later demanded for a ransom of USD 500,000. Six days after the abduction, a joint security operation led to the rescue of Kimberly and Mirenge.
In subsequent days, arrests of some of the suspected abductors were made by security agencies.