By Kamuntu Frank
Kampala: Following the outbreak of COVID-19 virus in March 2020 the government of Uganda through the Ministry of Health introduced various measures to curb the virus that included suspension of boda boda riders from carrying people.
However on the 16th Presidential address On COVID-19, President Yoweri Museveni eased on the guidelines allowing shopping malls, garages, shops, food market vendors etc, to operate with SOPs while Boda-bodas stay carrying luggages.
According to the Kampala Police Spokesperson Patrick Onyango, they suspect that the criminals’ intention is to force government to stop health guidelines against carrying of passengers by motorcyclists that government put in place to contain the spread of Coronavirus.
“We have noted with concern criminals using motorcycles that are attacking and damaging government owned vehicles while on the road, we suspect that the criminals’ intention is to force government to stop health guidelines against carrying of passengers by boda bodas that government put in place to contain the spread of Coronavirus”Onyango posted.
He adds that criminals are using improvised petrol bombs they hurl in the vehicles and metallic objects to hit on the windscreens.
In a shortest period since Uganda opted lockdown, three incidents have been reported in different parts of the city including Katwe, Nateete and Busega.
The joint security teams have identified five suspected criminals, who have been using these motorcycles, Onyango says they are pursuing them.
One of the motorcycles is registration number UEU 391F whom Onyango say attacked a government vehicle registration number UG 0450T on June 23, 2020. However, the occupants survived unhurt.
In the second incident, the suspects politely asked the driver of motor vehicle registration number UG 0182H to stop for them to cross unfortunately when the driver stopped, they pulled out a hammer and hit the windscreen.
He adds that, the criminals were unable to execute their crime and fled after their hammer fell in the car.
The third was conducted at Busega-Mityana Roundabout when criminals hurled a flammable liquid in the bottle in a government vehicle registration number UG 0199K, a Toyota Fortune on June 26, 2020.
This explosive busted into flames on the co- driver’s side, but the public nearby extinguish the fire.
Police mouth piece Onyango says that police is using all the available technology at their disposal to have them arrested and charged with malicious damage to government property and other offences.
“These actions are unacceptable. We are using all the available technology at our disposal to have them arrested and charged with malicious damage to government property and other of fences”Onyango said.
It should be remembered that after assassinations of several government officials, including state prosecutor Joan Kagezi, army official Muhammed Kiggundu, Assistant Inspector General of Police Andrew Felix Kaweesi, and Ibrahim Abiriga in 2018 by unidentified people who were traveling on boda boda, President Museveni issued tough guidelines on boda boda riders with a view of curbing the killings.
Among the guidelines issued by then included setting up a modern forensic laboratory, installing CCTV cameras, shooting down unregistered drones, and banning hooded shirts, known as hoodies.
He also said Uganda would start to “fingerprint” guns — that is, record the characteristics of individual firearms.
Other guidelines included every vehicle and motorcycle to have electronic number plates installed at the cost of the owner all aimed to curb Boda-boda crimes.