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Police in Buikwe Arrests Vandals of UETCL Lines


Police at Lugazi Town council, Buikwe district has arrested five suspects in connection with vandalism of transmission tower angle bars at Kitigoma village, Mabira forest and Lugazi sugar cane plantations in Buikwe district.

The suspects are all scrap metal dealers who were picked up in Njeru town council, Bugembe and Kitega in Buikwe, Jinja and Mukono districts respectively in possession of tower angle bars including lever for dismantling metal rails.

The police spokesperson for Sezibwa region Ms. Hellen Mutoto said that two suspects where were arrested by police after a tip off by a vigilante and Local defence unit at Kitigoma carrying stolen tower angle bars on a motorcycle at 9.00pm. She added to say that police is looking for more suspects and has expanded operations on vandals. “Anyone found vandalizing both transmission towers and SGR metal rails will be heavily punished” she said.

The arrested include Stephen Muyonja sixteen years of age a resident of Bugembe and Jessy Musasi 40 years a resident of Njeru triangle.The two arrested revealed the market of the stolen materials leading to the arrest of Joseph Oloka of Kitega, Musa Mugulusi and Musa Kiwanuka of Mafubira village in Jinja district. The arrested all deal in metal scrap business.

The Senior Public Relations Officer, Uganda Electricity Transmission Company Limited (UETCL) Mr. Kenneth Otim said that the suspects will be charged as a group of organized criminals and for economic sabotage.

Otim said that “a total of 49 angle bars worth 24.5million were exhibited at police, a CCTV camera box and a battery that are installed on transmission towers to alert the company and provide images of suspected vandals”. He said that the vandals have vandalized almost all the installed CCTV cameras on the transmission towers in sugar cane plantations and mabira forest to remove the security evidence and after they cut the tower angle bars using welding gas and axle blades at night.

He said that the UETCL has lost over a billion shillings to vandalism in the last three years. The vandalized items are sold to steel rolling mills and metals workshops for smelting and fabrication of lorry carriers, home gates and windows.

UETCL Principal Security Officer, Mr. Gregory Wakabi said that the most affected areas include Lugazi sugar cane plantation and Mabira forest in Buikwe district, Kakira sugar cane plantation in Jinja, Kibimba rice scheme and Busitema forest in Bugiri district. Wakabi said that with the rampant cases of vandalism, the country risk a power blackout, loss of energy revenue, increased operation cost that would hike the end user electricity tariffs and safety of persons and their property in case a tower collapsed.

“We call upon all citizens to provide useful information to the nearest security personnel of any suspected vandals to protect these national assets from being vandalized” he said.


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