Security organs in western Uganda and other parts of the country are hunting for at least 8 people who were accompanying a one John Atwine to vandalize & steal UMEME wires & other infrastructure on Sunday, 3rd April 2022 at around 3am in Nyantungo village Rushozi parish Rubaya sub county, Mbarara district where he was arrested after being shot in the pelvic, and the rest narrowly escaped.
This group, believed to be part of the big syndicate of vandals & thieves with market in Busia and other areas, was intercepted on a police roadblock following a call from the residents who heard & saw these malefactors with a truck Reg. No. UBK 830 J – now parked at Bwizbweera police station.
Atwine who is now nursing wounds at Mbarara regional referral hospital being watched by police, is currently a resident of Wakimese cell in Kyengera town council Wakiso district, but hails from Isingiro district.
According to Mr. Thomas Tondo who is the UMEME Operations Manager Mbarara, the wires including 700 metres of 50 mm conductor and 400 metres of 100 mm2 conductor worth ugx90M were serving close to 1 km to Rushozi Rubaya Industrial hub, which is due to be commissioned by President Museveni.
“This is economic sabotage, but we are excited that this operation has yielded some results. The information we have indicates that these materials are bought by scrap dealers, metal hangers dealers or manufacturers, contractors building new power lines and others supporting this, but our security department continues to investigate. The electricity network belongs to the citizens of this country, so all of us as Ugandans we play a vital role, we are all responsible. We must take the initiative and lead, be vigilant and protect these assets that belong to us,” he added.
Currently, Rubaya is a leading hotspot followed by Bukiro in Mbarara district and Nyakayonjo in the city.
Across western Uganda, Mbarara, Kasese, Isingiro, Kiruhura and other hotspots are registering high cases, with vandalism of electricity infrastructure in the region now at alarming levels.
In 12 months, vandals have stolen over 133 km of cable across the region causing unprecedented disruption of electricity supply, and theft now stands at 72% followed by East and Northern Uganda.
In 2021 alone, the sector lost over Ugx 26 billion in stolen copper wires, vandalized transformers, poles and others.
Investigations, operations and other interventions to eliminate vandalism continue.
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