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CRIME

23 thugs in Gulu charged with violence, conspiracy to commit felony

Jimmy Patrick Okema, the Aswa Region Police Spokesman speaking to journalists in Gulu town. (PHOTO/OKEMA)

GULU – Police in Gulu has preferred charges of threatening violence and conspiracy to commit crimes on 23 thugs after they were held over the weekends.

The thugs on the night of Thursday, June 20 went on a rampage attacking and vandalising the office of the LC1 Chairperson, Mr Jino Otti. It has been alleged that the rowdy mob wanted to kill him and his committee members for forming a Vigilante group.

18 of them were arrested on Thursday night from Industrial area in Layibi division Gulu Municipality. And five more were subsequently detained in a follow-up operation manned by a joint force of Police and UPDF that was conducted in Gulu town over the weekend.

Jimmy Patrick Okema, the Aswa Region Police Spokesman, confirmed the development on Monday while speaking to journalists in Gulu town.

The suspects have been charged with threatening violence and conspiracy to commit felony because they intimidated and made attempts on the life of LC1 of Gulu Industrial area.

It is alleged that the gang had held a meeting to launch the attack from Ras Bar located along Ring road in Cereleno, Tegwana parish in Pece division.

He verified that these thugs who have been terrorizing Gulu town are not mere street kids as they were commonly known but real goons although they do not have guns as earlier alleged by members of the community.

He identifies some of the notorious ring leaders as Owigi, Okot alias Kuba, Funga and Shaban.

Police also recovered items including iron bars, bunches of keys, knives, pangas, marijuana, burglary instruments among other stolen properties.

Thursday night incident

Eyewitnesses have revealed that the thugs who were armed with clubs, metal bars, pangas paraded Cuk P’Oweka in Cereleno in Industrial area and beat whoever they came across on their way to the LC1 office along Ring road while chanting “we must pay back, we are being beaten for no reason”.

The thugs allege that the Vigilante group formed by Mr Otti was beating them and manhandling their members yet they are innocent.

“I formed a vigilante that is blocking them from stealing, robbing and getting what they want from people at night, and they want me to stop discontinuing them from terrorizing Industrial area,” Mr Otti narrated.

The thugs attacked Mr Otti’s office and vandalised his office furniture destroyed his office documents.

Okema noted that the 23 thugs have all recorded statements and will appear in court tomorrow to face charges of threatening violence and conspiracy to commit a felony.

He, however, says additional charges of drug abuse shall be added depending on individual suspects found in possession of marijuana.

He, however, encourages LC1 chairpersons across Gulu Municipality to step up their effort to support the police in fighting crimes by forming a vigilante group that can be supported and guided by police in their operations.

“The local chairpersons can form a vigilante but it should be in consultation with the area police so that once they want to carry out the operation, they will be led and guided by the police officers.

Okema said that it is unfortunate that the District Police Commander and OC Layibi are not aware.

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