Kiira Road Police Station in Kampala was this morning swarmed by hundreds of bodaboda cyclists demanding the head of a man believed to be behind the theft of motorcycles in the city.
The bodaboda cyclists accused the police of doing nothing to protect them from armed robbery and death. They said the decision of what should happen to the suspect should be given to them.
The fracas at Kiira Road Police Station begun late yesterday when bodaboda cyclists operating in Najeera informed the police of what they believed to be a racquet of motorcycle thieves. They said a gang made up of a bodaboda cyclist in Kireka, a employee of Uganda Revenue Authority and a middleman was responsible.
According to the allegation, the middleman identifies vulnerable operators, the cyclist carries out the attack and the URA employee alters the registration details of the motorcycles and arranges for their resale.
Kiira Road police mounted a hunt for the gang last night, finally arresting one of them, the middleman, at about 6 a.m. They took the suspect, whose identity has been protected, to the police station for interrogation and further investigation of the case.
The bodaboda cyclists were not impressed. At about 7:30 this morning, they stormed the police station and demanded for the suspect's head.
//Cue in: FX: Sound of bodaboda cyclists complaining.//
When the rioting increased, the police called for backup from Kampala Central Police Station. Four pickup trucks of anti-riot police surrounded the area and forced the bodaboda cyclists to retreat.
The Kiira Road Divisional Police Commander, Alex Asiimwe, called for calm. He said mob justice is illegal and promised that the police would do everything to get to the bottom of the rampant motorcycle thefts.
//Cue in: iAfter arresting him #i
Cue out: i# a capital case.i//
However the bodaboda cyclists were not to be outdone. They jumped onto their motorcycles and headed to the suspect's home in Najeera 1 Zone where they begun to break into his house. They also threatened to beat and kill the suspect's wife, but she fled for her life just in time.
The anti-riot police at Kiira Road soon arrived in Najeera to stop the rioting. To satisfy the demands of the bodaboda cyclists, they searched the suspect's house, but found no motorcycles.
Michael Muhumuza, a bodaboda cyclist in Kiwatule, says the police have not heard the end of their complaints. He warns that demonstrations will continue until the theft of motorcycles stops.