The Inspector General of Police Okoth Martins Ochola (OMO) has said Police investigations have linked some of the kidnap cases reported in Kampala to terrorism financing.
OMO revealed this while addressing the media, in his first open press conference since he took office from disgraced former IGP Kale Kayihura who was fired and refered too as a weevil which had infested the police force with criminal elements.
Ochola said they have evidence that some of the kidnap for ransom cases are aimed at raising money to finance terrorism.
“Our analysis indicated that all these kidnaps fall under four categories. The first category is kidnap demand for ransom and the other is murder to finance terrorism,” Ochola said, reading from a prepared speech.
The other cases are kidnap for ritual sacrifice, kidnap inspired by crimes of passion and then self kidnap.
He said the kidnap and murder of Susan Magara and the kidnap of Mubarak Kalenge a KCCA staff in February and March had terrorism elements but refused to give details saying he doesnt want to say much before every suspect is taken to court.
“It would be premature for me to disclose or say now what those terrorist groups are, in the near future once we arraign them in court, we shall be able to tell,” Ochola said.
Under kidnap to finance terrorism Ochola cited two cases; “For example Ms Susan Magara was murdered…another case or Mr Mubarak Kalenge working with KCCA, he survived. These two cases were perpetrated by the same suspects and the majority have been arrested and charged in court.’
Under Kidnap for ritual sacrifice Ochola mentioned two cases; “We have registered two case under this category and the victims were Ms Halima Nabawanuka of Sembabule district and Ms Rose Nakisekka from Kalungu district. So far three suspects have been arrested who led security to where they had dumped the bodies of the slain innocent girls. Among the suspects is a witch doctor that allegedly wanted virgin girls for sacrifice.”
Ochola added that; ” once the victims were rejected by the witch doctor, the suspects in our custody went ahead to demand ransom and killed their victims.”
Ochola told the media at Naguru Police HQ that the recent case of the kidnap of 26 Ugandan fishermen was carried out by suspected elements of the terror group the Mai Mai operating in DR Congo.
“The Ugandan fishermen were abducted on Lake Albert by elements of Mai Mai. They said they wanted 10 boxes of ammunition in exchange, we also arrested 26 of theirs who were fishing on our side. We have the upper hand,” Ochola saidd.
Ochola said some of the kidnap cases are crimes of passion and self kidnap.
At least 85 cases of Kidnap were reported across the country since February 2018. 43 of these have been false alarms, 20 self-kidnaps and 22 were serious kidnap cases, according to records by the Uganda Police Force
He revealed that in four months they police has registered 42 serious kidnap cases out of which seven cases involved murder resulting in eight victims. He added that eight people have so far been rescued while seven kidnap victims are still missing.
OMO said that 20 kidnap cases are self inflicted in nature and he revealed that these were related to love relationships, extortion attempts and in some cased related to financial impropriety where people fail to account for loss of money and fake their own kidnaps.
Police have also established a 24/7 emergency response call center with toll free telephone lines that the public should use in cases involving suspected kidnaps. The numbers are 0800199990, 0800199991 and 0800199992.