March 1, 2024

70 arrested at Namugongo stealing from Pilgrims

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A joint operation conducted by overt and covert security teams at the Catholic martyrs’ shrines in Namugongo has resulted in the arrest of 70 individuals involved in theft targeting exhausted pilgrims. Exploiting the vulnerable state of the pilgrims, the suspects took advantage of their sleep to carry out their illicit activities.

However, the vigilant overt security teams, strategically positioned among the pilgrims, caught the thieves in the act, as they attempted to open bags and snatch valuables such as mobile phones and wallets from unsuspecting pilgrims. Patrick Onyango, the spokesperson for the Kampala Metropolitan Police, disclosed that some of the arrested individuals deliberately caused disturbances with the intention of diverting attention and stealing from the pilgrims.

However, the swift response of the security teams led to their apprehension. The suspects are currently under detention at Kira Division Police, which holds jurisdiction over both the Catholic and Anglican shrines. Among the recorded cases, 19 involve theft of mobile phones, while 10 are related to general theft. “We have arrested 70 people and out of these two are females. But the general situation is relatively calm and normal,” Onyango said.

In their efforts to maintain a secure environment, the military and police confiscated unauthorized items from the pilgrims, including knives, razor blades, and other sharp objects. Furthermore, specific traffic control measures have been implemented, with only foot pilgrims allowed on the Sonde and Kireka-Kyaliwajjala routes, while the Kyaliwajjala-Naalya route is designated for those leaving Namugongo.

“Security agencies are still working tirelessly to see that Martyr’s Day celebrations go smoothly without any serious incident,” Onyango said. To bolster security, both ground and aerial assets have been deployed, demonstrating a comprehensive approach to safeguarding the pilgrims. Onyango expressed gratitude to the pilgrims for their cooperation with the security personnel. “They have abided with our directives and guidelines and this made our work easy,” Onyango said.

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