69 suspects have been arrested in Hoima, as police scale up operations in town and the neighbouring areas.
Lydia Tumushabe, the Albert region police spokesperson says the suspects were rounded up in the ongoing night operations launched last week. Tumushabe says the operations are targeting areas of Kinubi, Kiryatete, Lusaka and Hoima town central business area.
Those arrested include people found on the move late at night without identification documents, while others were found in areas known to be dark spots.
Some of the suspects were found with house break in implements, while others were smoking marijuana at the time of arrest.
According to Tumushabe 16 of the suspects have already been arraigned in court and charged with crimes that include burglary, assault or being idle and disorderly. The rest have been cautioned and set free after screening.
The police spokesperson says the operation has been prompted by the increasing crime in town. She explains that the recent incidents of iron bar attacks particularly forced the police to act.
Three people have been killed and three others are in hospital following fresh iron bar attacks in Hoima Municipality. Attacks started in July this year.
Those killed are Sylvia Nibigimana, a student at Kabalega Royal Institute and Vincent Byaruhanga, a hawker and one Juma. Those injured among others are Michael Adiriyo, a secondary school teacher and Vincent Muhumuza, a boda boda cyclist.
Tumushabe says the police operations will continue until sanity is restored in town. She reveals that both motorized and foot patrols are taking place.
Local leaders have welcomed the operations but ask police to do more investigations before releasing some of the suspects, saying those could be wanted criminals. Nasur Rwaigwera, the Hoima Municipal councillor representing western ward says crime has persisted in town simply because criminals are arrested and released without charge.
Hoima witnessed a surge in iron bar crime in 2011/2012.The attacks saw ten residents killed and more than 20 hospitalized. It only took the intervention of Inspector General of Police Kale Kayihura to deploy the special police investigations unit operatives to beef up operations in Hoima and the neighboring districts.
About 40 suspects were rounded up in the operation and several iron bars and other attacking implements were recovered.