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CRIME

Four arrested for vandalizing electric cables

Four men in Greater Masaka have been arrested for vandalizing electric cables. (FILE PHOTO)

MASAKA – Police in Greater Masaka have arrested four men for vandalizing electric cables.

The four were arrested from Malongo Sub-county in Lwengo district after they had allegedly cut cable wires from newly installed electricity transmission lines under the Rural Electrification Programme.

The four are Byansi Vincent, Kayondo David, Natukunda Benon and Kamugisha Edison all from Lyantonde.

They were travelling in Motor Vehicle Reg. NO. UAZ 161Q, a Toyota wish. They are in custody at Lwengo CPS pending court.

There is increase in theft and destruction of transformers and electricity supply infrastructure across the country. Electricity infrastructure vandalism is on the rise as criminals are on the loose.

Yet transformers and other electricity supply infrastructure are public assets and it is an offense to steal or destroy them.

Interference with the electricity supply network causes power blackouts, threatens the security of our homes, increases the cost of doing business and electricity tariffs, and disrupts vital health and education services as well as our lifestyles. All power users can attest to this when the UETCL towers went down!

Vandalism has also been reported by Umeme, the major electricity distributor, the telecommunication companies, roads authority and local government property.

By half of 2018 alone, Umeme had lost more than 40 transformers to vandals, estimated at more than Shs1 billion. Transformers cost between $10,000 and $20,000. Transformer vandalism is rampant because the vandals want its oil and copper components. The oil is used for cooking, as an additive to cosmetics, fuel in welding machines and furnaces while others use it to treat wounds.

The vandals also target feeder pillars, ring main unit covers circuit breakers, stay supports, substation fences, underground cables and overhead conductors (wires).

Umeme currently incurs costs running up to billions of shillings annually in the replacement of vandalised infrastructure.

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