Uganda People's Defence Force (UPDF) soldiers and Military Police have this morning cordoned off Mbarara Municipality and its outlets arresting a large number of people, in what the police call a continuous crack down on hard core criminals following the murder of the World Food Program (WFP) official on Monday morning.
The operation is mainly targeting Kijungu, Kisenyi, Lugazi and Bagdad zones in Kakoba Division. Residents woke up at 5am this morning only to find many residences and junctions sealed off and manned by military police, regular police and soldiers.
Three unknown assailants attacked and stabbed to death Andrew Mpubani, a Monitoring Assistant of the World Food Program (WFP), on Monday morning. He was attacked by machete-wielding men outside his home in Kisenyi Zone Kakoba division in Mbarara Municipality at around 2 am, as he returned from a music concert organized by Eagles Production.
Since Monday the police have been trying to uncover who killed the official and it is believed this is what has led to the massive security swoop this morning.
Police pickup trucks are seen ferrying suspects to Mbarara central police station and to other outposts like Kakoba, Nyamityobora and Bus Park out posts. At the Central police headquarters the number is swelling as trucks continue to pile more suspects.
The police remain tight-lipped about this operation. to the media in order not to jeopardize the investigations. Poly Namaye, the Rwizi Regional Police spokesperson, declined to comment for fear of compromising investigations.
However a police detective who is among those conducting a swoop but who preferred anonymity tells Uganda Radio Network that as many as 300 people had been arrested by 8am, adding that the operation continues up to tomorrow.
Business in Mbarara town has slowed down considerably as persons without formal identification documents opt to remain at home. Many shops in Mbarara Central Market remain closed.
Annet Aritujuna a grocery attendant along Bishop Wils Street says the government needs to work faster on the national identity cards project as many Ugandans do not have proper identification documents.
Kato Kiharara, the LC.1 chairperson for Lugazi Zone in Kakoba Division, says they are as surprised as their residents at the heavy military presence on the streets. He says they did not receive any briefing of a pending security operation.