More than 100 pickpockets have been arrested in Kampala, during an operation mounted by police.
The operation ‘clean Kampala’ was headed by Kampala Divisional Police Commander Bakaleke Joseph Gwaido. It targeted the areas of Cooper complex, Market Street, Burton Street, Old Taxi Park, Arua Park and Nebbi Park, among others.
A team of 37 police officers and about 100 crime preventers set off from CPS in four different teams at around 11:30 am. They were under direct orders to search rooftops of arcades, betting centres as well as get tips from the traders on the suspects to arrest.
At Market Street, police officers and crime preventers stormed the arcades, searching building by building and picking everyone who could not explain their presence in the area. However, guards at the arcades advised the officers to organize the next operations early in the morning or past 4 pm to be able to get most of the suspected city thieves.
Talking to the traders was a bit more complicated. They would point describe some of the young men and women who are known for the theft but even that they did it secretly, not allowing anyone to see them.
“If these boys know that you have spoken to them, they target you as an individual and beat you up. They can even kill you. We are all afraid of them,” an elderly woman in her 50’s told this publication.
The Kampala Metropolitan police spokesperson Luke Owoyesigyire says, all the suspects arrested will be screened before being taken to court. During the screening, the suspects are supposed to produce evidence of employment or the Local Council Chairman to prove what they do in the area they were found.
They are currently being held on charges of theft, public nuisance, rogue and vagabond.