The crime rates in Gulu city suburbs have escalated as criminal gangs evade the security Close Circuit Television Camera –CCTV in the central business district.
Crimes such as housebreaking, burglary, snatching of phones and handbags as well as motorcycle robbery by suspected members of “Aguu” criminal gangs in the central business district of Gulu City were rampant before the installation of the security cameras.
The installation of the security cameras in major spots led to the arrest of various thugs prompting their colleagues to shift to the outskirts. Some of the most affected areas include; Laliya and Kweyo Wards in Bardege –Layibi Division and Lukung Cell in Pece –Laroo Division among others.
Cosmas Ojok, a Boda –boda rider at Custom Corner Stage and resident of Kweyo Ward in Bardege –Layibi Division told URN in an interview that he survived an attack by two armed robbers around 4:30 am on Thursday last week from Kweyo Trading Center while returning home from a drinking joint.
He says that the two thugs who had just robbed a nearby shop fired three bullets at him when he passed them prompting him to abandon his motorcycle and run for his dear life in the nearby bush. Ojok says that thugs tried to search for him in vain and took off towards Gulu City leaving his motorcycle on the road.
According to Ojok, four motorcycles have so far been robbed in Kweyo Ward within a period of one month. He says that the latest incident happened three weeks ago when the robbers shot the rider in the upper thigh.
Brian Openyrwot, the Kweyo Ward councillor in Bardege –Layibi Division in Gulu City told URN in an interview that they receive between three and eight criminal cases ranging from robbery, housebreaking, assault, theft of properties among others within a week.
He says the criminal gangs have vandalized school properties like signposts and desks, slaughtered two cattle, stolen dozens of chickens and broken into houses of locals in the last few months. According to Openyrwot, the criminal gangs normally operate late in the night, saying that residents have resorted to mob justice whenever they arrest any of the thugs.
Jimmy Ocitti, the LC 1 of Lukung Cell in Bardege Layibi Division, says that the thugs normally use master keys to open into people’s houses and that in some instances douse their victims to steal their properties.
According to Ocitti, the criminal gangs also waylay people in dark spots like Golf Course Road –a few meters from the Police Barracks. In Dwol Cell, Laliya Ward in Bardege –Layibi Division, the criminal gangs take advantage of social gatherings like funeral rites, burial, and wedding ceremonies to snatch people’s phones and handbags.
Richard Acaye, the LC 1 Chairperson of Dwol Cell reveals that his office registers a dozen cases of phone snatching and housebreaking after any social gathering. Acaye says there are other individuals who back the suspected criminals once arrested, something he says is greatly hindering their efforts to mitigate the vice.
David Muong Ongom, the Aswa River Region Police Spokesperson told URN that the police are currently conducting an operation in the region mainly targeting the hardcore criminals who use guns.
Mudong says so far a number of them have been arrested and are helping police with the investigations, adding that more shall be arrested. He however declined to reveal the identities of the suspects in police custody, saying it would interfere with their investigations.
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