Police in the Kiira region are conducting an investigation into the lynching of two suspected phone snatchers in Budhumbuli cell in Bugembe ward in Jinja City Northern division. According to reports, approximately 20 youths were sighted breaking into houses, seizing valuable items from unsuspecting victims, and subsequently fleeing on motorcycles with their loot in sacks.
This incited anger among members of the village security committee, who devised a plan to apprehend the youths at one of their hideouts in Budhumbuli. The intention was to hand them over to the police for prosecution. However, the agitated crowd began to beat the suspects mercilessly killing two suspects on the spot and torching their bodies.
Another suspect survived with serious injuries, while the other suspects managed to flee into hiding. A resident familiar with the incident, speaking on condition of anonymity, revealed that criminal gang members often evade legal consequences due to the fear they instill in their victims and communities.
“These youth gangs are dangerous and they often threaten to kill whoever provides police with intelligence information about their activities, which has led to instances of mob justice as an alternative approach to curbing rising crime rates,” he said.
Besweri Mulawa, another resident, shared that he witnessed the mob attacking and setting fire to the suspected criminals while he was on his way to work at about 8:00 am. He identified the deceased suspects with their aliases as ‘Snake’ and ‘Cobra,’ as individuals with a history of petty criminal activities involving threats and theft.
Jimmy Talisanga, the LC 1 chairperson of Budhumbuli, noted that the area has been infiltrated by various criminals of different age groups. He attributed the insecurity to the existence of makeshift houses and unregistered residents, creating an environment conducive to criminal activities.
The lack of proper information on the non-school-going children’s means of survival contributes to this issue, prompting community members to resort to mob justice. In response, the Kiira regional police spokesperson, James Mubi, shared that law enforcement has intensified both motorized and foot patrols to combat crime in identified trouble spots across their jurisdiction.
He mentioned that efforts are being made to identify and apprehend individuals involved in mob justice, as these actions hinder the proper dispensation of justice for both victims and suspects alike.
By Rachael Wambuzi