Security forces have vowed to arrest any person who will be found vending in sharp objects like knives, hoes and pangas in a bid to prevent street mugging and stabbing.
The decision to ban vending of raw weapons is allegedly based on the information gathered by police’s crime intelligence and Chieftaincy of Military Intelligence (CMI) that some elements procure such weapons from vendors while others disguise as vendors but victimize people during rush hours.
Fred Enanga, who spoke on behalf of security agencies, said intelligence organs have been receiving information that street attacks are on the increase because criminals find it easy to access sharp objects sold by vendors.
“Our directorate of crime intelligence has been getting information on incidents of attacks using sharp objects like knives and other dangerous tools most especially during the cover of darkness or in black spots when people are returning home,” said Enanga.
It is speculated that the intelligence organs also received information that some groups are planning to cause mayhem during traffic congestion by attacking drivers and passengers. The intelligence was shared with joint operation committee (JOC) and national security committee (NSC) where it was resolved that vending of sharp tools should be stopped with immediate effect.
“It has prompted the national security committee to come up with a very strong directive banning the vending of raw weapons and tools like knives, hoes, pangas on the streets. It had become a very common habit where you find people vending these raw weapons which are easily acquired by some of the criminals and used against innocent Ugandans and other visitors in the country,” says Enanga.
Security admits that vending is not a crime but commanders at all levels have been directed to confiscate these raw weapons and equipment due to alleged potential to contributing to crime and impact they possess to safety and security.
At least 342 people were stabbed in 2020, according to Criminal Investigations Directorate (CID) statistics. This was a drop by 8 cases considered to 350 stabbings registered in 2019.
Enanga said the security leadership believe that once vending of raw weapons on streets is minimized, street attacks of drivers, pedestrians and riders will also drop. More than 10 drivers were hit on the Northern bypass and Clock Tower by gangs carrying pavers, bricks, knives and pangas.
“We believe that once we confiscate these tools that which can easily be turned into weapons, it will help to mitigate the risks of safety and security in our neighborhoods. It will mitigate some of the risks that our drivers face during the smash and grab attacks while in traffic jam and even other road users especially pedestrians,” says Enanga.
The JOC and NSC have members from among other security agencies Police, UPDF, ISO, CMI and CI. Police say they are going to continue working with KCCA to ensure this directive is implemented.