Seven suspected vehicle robbers are in police custody following a crackdown by the Flying Squad Unit. The suspects were picked up in an operation spanning three weeks targeting vehicle thieves.
According to Police, the suspects have been stealing vehicles and transport them through Busia border to Kenya where they sell them to unsuspecting members of the public.
The operation stemmed from intelligence information showing that two vehicles stolen from the National Forest Authority (NFA) and the National Agricultural Research Organisation (NARO) in February this year had been sold in Kenya.
The vehicles were stolen from Kampala and Entebbe on February 14th and 16th prompting the two government agencies to report cases of vehicle at the Flying Squad Unit, which swung into action.
Luke Owoyesigyire, the Kampala Metropolitan Police Spokesperson, says Flying Squad operatives followed all leads until they got intelligence that the vehicles had been taken to Kenya.
“These people have been stealing the cars and taking them to Kenya through Busia. This is not the first time,” Owoyesigyire told Uganda Radio Network.
The suspects were picked up from Kampala, Jinja and Lira on Sunday night and Monday morning respectively. They are Mark Hamza, Joe Ogwala, Ivan Obongo, Emmanuel Namaje, Robert Kandambi, Moses Obua and Suzan Owino.
According to Police, some of the suspects have confessed their involvement in the theft of the two vehicles plus three others and selling them in Kenya. However, the suspects haven’t disclosed who bought the vehicles in Kenya. But in their statement, one of the suspects says they have counterparts in Kenya who pick the vehicle from Busia.
“The people who are on the other side of the boarder are the ones who know the people who buy the vehicles”, reads the statement in part. There has been an increase in vehicle thefts over the last few years. At least three vehicles are stolen on average each day.
Only one of the three stolen vehicles is recovered by according to statistics from the Flying Squad Unit. Most of those recovered are intercepted in transit to the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) or already having crossed the boarder through Arua and Nebbi Districts.
Most vehicle robbers prefer selling the vehicles in DRC because of the poor relationship between the two countries, which makes it hard for security agencies in Congo to work with Uganda Police force.
While there some stolen vehicles are also sold in Kenya, the cooperation between the police Forces of the two states make it easy to investigate and finally recover the stolen vehicle.