Police boss steals gun from junior, mortgages it for Shs700,000

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Police boss steals gun from junior, mortgages it for Shs700,000
Lusha Subcounty where the gun mortgage took place

Police officer steals gun from subordinate's home and mortgages it for Shs700,000 loan

CRIME | Police in the Elgon district of Bulambuli are holding two of their own, including the Officer-in-Charge (OC) of Lusha Police Post, over the circumstances under which a rifle in their custody was given out as a collateral for a soft loan.

The AK 47 assault rifle, with 30 rounds of ammunition, assigned to Lusha Police Post in the rural Lusha Subcounty, went missing on April 10 under controversial circumstances.

It was, however, recovered 10 days later, from a moneylender in the neighbouring Bunabude - who had apparently taken to carrying it like a walking stick to show his newfound power.

The circumstances under which the moneylender, only identified as Sande, got to slinging the gun behind his shoulders was revealed last Wednesday when the Elgon Region Police Commander Bosco Otim Loro announced that the gun had been recovered intact.

“Actually, the gun was not lost, it was  given out by a police officer in exchange for money,” an elder in Lusha village told the Nile Post in confidence.

It was for a Shs700,000 loan, the Nile Post has established.

Investigations by this reporter revealed that when the gun could not be accounted for, Henry Mangusho, the officer who had signed for it, was detained.

Mangusho, in his statement, revealed that the gun had disappeared from his home. His wife was subsequently taken in as well as investigations intensified.

Lusha Police Post in Lusha Subcounty, Bulambuli District.

With boots getting dirtied in the mucky Bulambuli terrains as RPC Otim deployed officers to comb the village for the missing rifle, the locals rolled up their sleeves and went to work, using their networks of 'Mukwasi' here and 'Waulire' there, they dotted the 'i' and crossed the 't' in no time.

The 'i': Sande had been seen flaunting a gun in the neighbouring village. And the 't': Lusha Police Post OC Wilson Were had been seen walking waist-to-waist like conjoined twins with Sande the last time the moneylender was seen loitering in the village.

OC Were was taken into custody. It emerged that he had tiptoed into Mangusho's house and picked the rifle that he had mortgaged to Sande for Shs700,000.

“It was revealed during our community meeting that Were had sold the gun so we sent a team to engage Sande to verify the information,” a resident said.

“This person [Were] was seen around walking together with him and when they agreed on the deal, he went and picked the gun and gave it to Sande, who disappeared with it into the woods."

Negotiations ensued through Sande's relatives, ultimately resulting in the return of the rifle.

However, the community had to part with Shs1.5 million to compensate Sande before he could release the gun.

The community had been compelled to act to avoid potential harsher security measures, including cordon and search operations.

“The security heads from the region had given us an ultimatum of one week to produce the gun, we liaised with the LC leaders from Bunabude and they confirmed that Sande had the gun but he demanded Shs1.5 million compensation," a resident said.

“We had been in great fear because we have witnessed residents being beaten in other places in search of a lost gun,” said another resident, “we could not wait to see a battalion of soldiers in our village.”

It remains unclear what Sande had taken the gun for or even whether he can operate it.

At the time of filing in this report, Sande had still not been taken into custody as he had only received the money he had demanded for and directed area leaders on where to find the gun, not himself.

He had reportedly vanished into thin air. Or the woods.

“We engaged with members of the public and they committed to follow and recover the gun and on Tuesday, April 23, the gun was delivered to the GISO [Gombolola Internal Security Officer] as per my guidance,” Otim confirmed.

Residents have condemned the conduct of the police officer, questioning his integrity and punching holes in the government's criteria for the selection in recruitment of officers.

The concerns of the community align with those of the regional Inspectorate of Government, Ms Dominic Baru, who recently raised a red flag associating such outcomes to chaos in recruitment based on bribery and nepotism at the expense pf merit.

Ms Baru warned the impending baring of such recruitment criteria on service delivery.

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