Herbert Muhangi, the Commandant of the Police Flying Squad Division has confirmed the arrest of the security personnel and their connection to more than 5 robberies. I can confirm that we arrested the officers some of whom will be charged in the Military Court martial and others in Civilian Courts, Muhangi told URN.
Eight of the 12 suspects have reportedly confessed to the Police Flying squad their involvement in the robberies at Top Bet Kampala Road, Seeta Cocacola Depot, Eso- Corner near Nandos, a Kansanga Chinese Company and Bank of Africa among many others. The suspects are yet to record an extra judicial statement on the matter. Herbert Muhangi, the Commandant of the Police Flying Squad Division has confirmed the arrest of the security personnel and their connection to more than 5 robberies.
"I can confirm that we arrested the officers some of whom will be charged in the Military Court martial and others in Civilian Courts," Muhangi told URN. According to information obtained by URN, the suspects were picked up after a four month long operation conducted by the flying squad. The investigations stemmed from a spate of broad bay robberies in Kampala, Mukono and Wakiso districts last year, which puzzled officers in the Flying Squad.
In October last year, four masked gun welding men cornered an Asian businessman near Nandos on Jinja road in Kampala Central Business district at 3pm and robbed him of Shillings 150 million. They sped off in a numberless Toyota Premio vehicle. In November 2015, the group struck again in Seeta, Mukono where they robbed Shillings 28million from a Coca cola depot at midday. Barely 2 weeks later, another robbery occurred in Kansanga involving four gunmen.
One of the investigating officers told URN on condition of anonymity that given the nature of the robberies, there was no doubt at this point that the attacks were being executed by an organised criminal gang. "Their courage and ability to attack within the shortest time possible was worrying. We had witness description but that was not enough. We were clueless," the officer said. On 17th December 2016, barely two weeks after the Kansanga robbery, the gang struck again.
This time the gang robbed Shillings 200million that was in transit from Bank of Africa to Hotel African Forex Bureau on Access Road at 3:20PM. The suspects used the vehicle that was transporting the money to escape leaving behind Toyota Corona UAL 557M and Toyota Corolla UAF 732Y they had used to get to the scene of crime.
Tracing the suspects
The recovery of the two vehicles helped the Police Flying squad to trace the suspect. According to one of the officers, they filled in police form 28 and sent it to Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) to establish the ownership of the two vehicles. URA could not trace the particulars of the Toyota Corona but the owner of the Corolla was identified and his contacts given to Flying Squad.
Following his arrest, the registered owner of the Corolla, said he sold the vehicle to someone else but the details had not been recorded into the URA database as he was yet to complete payment. He cooperated with the police and led them to the new owner of the vehicle who also led them to Frank Jumba, who was picked up on January 7th 2016.
The investigators say, "Jumba is a known Robber in the Flying squad database who has been arrested and charged many times but is always released by Court." Before Jumba was arrested, the gang attacked Top Bet along Kampala road on 20th December 2015 and robbed Shilling 8.6 million. The thugs also kidnapped Ronnie Kyeyune the supervisor at Top Bet and dumped him at Bujuko on Mityana road. Shortly after his arrest, Jumba reportedly confessed his involvement in three robberies and disclosed the identities of his accomplices.
One of the suspects was identified as Jaffer Dembe, a businessman. The other suspects included Milton Acema and Charles Opira, both Police constables and SFC soldier Private Charles Muwonge. The four had orchestrated the top Bet robbery. The other robbery victims helped to identify SFC's Mark Nakarimbwa, Edward Mubale, Winnex Chelimo, Denis Mwangusho, Stephen Omony, Yusuf Jingo and Civilian Kalyango David.
Police investigations showed that Chelimo was the leader of the group. Chelimo escaped from lawful custody at Kampala Central Police Station (CPS) but was re-arrested two weeks ago. The SFC officers have since been transferred to Makindye Military Barracks waiting to appear before Army General Court martial while the police officers and civilians will be appear in High Court.