By Fred Kiva
MASAKA. Greater Masaka criminals that have been dropping letters with threatening messages have listed senior police officers among their targets in their latest letters.
The threatening letters were dropped in Kayanja, Bukomasimbi District recently.
Lameck Kigozi, the Regional Police Spokesperson says the targeted officers are the Officer In Oharge (OC) Kitanda Police Station and the Officer In charge Criminal Investigations Directorate (OC CID) of the same station.
“The list includes about 15 people, including our officers,” Kigozi told Kampala Post in a telephone interview on Thursday.
Asked what security is doing about it, Kigozi said, “We are on ground and we have been arresting some of these criminals.”
In the latest letters, the criminals have asked each of their targets to prepare Shs300,000 for them or else they cut off their heads.
In January this year, the same criminals raided villages in Bukomansimbi district, killing five people including a retired Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Denis Ssebugwawo. Several residents were injured in the attacks which were executed after several warning letters being dropped at the target homes and trading centres.
Security operations were scaled up as the then Inspector General of Police, Kale Kayihura personally pitched camp in the area. A number of suspects were rounded up, including the gang leader Musa Galiwango who was last month shot and injured following his escape from Court in Masaka. His accomplice, Mohammad Kiddawalime with whom they escaped had previously been killed by Masaka residents while on a robbery mission.
With the arrest of Galiwango, the then IGP Kayihura said Police had recorded a major breakthrough in dealing with the criminals. However, according to Lameck Kigozi, the criminals have continued to drop threatening letters in the area.
Two weeks ago, similar letters were dropped in Kihande Cell, Masindi Municipality with the criminals giving their targets one week to prepare them Shs300,000 or they kill them.
Who are these criminals?
Since these panga wielding criminals launched their attacks in the Greater Masaka districts of Kalungu, Ssembabule, Bukomansimbi, Lwengo and Kyotera about two years ago, questions have been raised on who these people are and the motive of their attacks.
Last year, some of those rounded up in security operations in the area admitted having been hired for work, only to be taken for such missions. In some instances, the attacks have been linked to common theft, since some property and money have been taken. Lameck Kigozi maintains that these are ordinary criminals with the aim of getting money. “One of them whom we arrested recently told us he threatened a family because he wanted to steal their coffee,” he said.
Other theories point to these attacks being work of an organized criminal gang. However, it could be early to draw conclusions regarding these attacks that have robbed families of their loved ones and left scores injured as security investigations continue.