Are Guards Equipped Enough to Deal with Armed Robbers?

At least four petrol stations were attacked at the weekend in various parts of Kampala, Wakiso and Luweero districts. The incidents left one security guard killed while three others were left nursing serious injuries.

The first robbery happened on Sunday night at 2am at Nesta petrol station in Bweyogerere, Kira Municipality, Wakiso district. Armed robbers raided the station in a Mercedes Van UAN 897N with intent of robbing cash, tyres and fuel.

But their mission was interrupted by Flying Squad operatives that had been informed about a robbery likely to take place at one of the petrol stations in the area and deployment were done at various strategic points.

At least two of the robbers were shot and maimed. They are currently getting treatment at Mulago hospital under tight guard. Police Spokesperson, Fred Enanga, says the Van driver was arrested but three of their colleagues escaped and they are currently being hunted. This is why police have kept the names of the injured suspects a secret as they hunt for their accomplices.

“They attacked the private security guard and pump attendants with intention of robbing cash, fuel and tyres. It is at that stage our team responded. Shot at them, injured two and also arrested the driver. The Van was impounded. The driver is in or custody,” Enanga explains.

As Flying Squad repulsed the Bweyogerere robbers, another Nesta fuel station along Matugga-Semuto road was being robbed. This time, Samuel Wetaka, a security guard from Hash Security group was hacked. The group that was five in number tied workers in a Supermarket which was still open and robbed cash worth Shillings 2 million.

The Closed Circuit Television –CCTV cameras at the station were also destroyed. But a detective attached to Flying Squad suspect that there was connivance with one of the guards identified as Patrick Okino. The guard allegedly disappeared at the time when his colleague and other workers were being attacked.

Enanga confirmed that indeed Okino disappeared and a hunt for him is on. The attackers at Nesta on Matugga –Semuto road also fueled their Van with 42 litres before they fled unknown destination. Police at Jagala arrived when the thugs had left.

At Namayumba in Wakiso, SPC protectorate guard was attacked and Shillings 8million was stolen. At Kalule trading centre in Luweero district, a security guard identified as, Francis Ngoya, was hacked to death. His colleague Ronald Turyasingura survived with serious injuries.

“The gun which these guards had was stolen but later abandoned about 2km. The injured guard Turyasingura Ronald was rushed to Bombo military hospital. These were attached Safety Security Company Limited,” Enanga said.

But in all these incidents, Flying Squad operatives have pointed to three major weaknesses being explored by thugs. These include guards deployed with only one or two bullets in the guns. There is connivance of guards with criminals because of low or delayed payments. Fuel stations which also have supermarkets are found of keeping a huge sums of money.

“These criminals have surveillance networks. They know that many people branch to these supermarkets in the evening hours to buy items for their homes. They also know that many banks are closed by 10pm meaning a lot of money is kept inside. They attack when they are sure there is money,” a Flying Squad operative said.

Security guards have often revealed that they are deployed with one or two bullets. There are incidents when guard have been attacked but they had no any bullet in their guns. But some of owners of the private security companies pointed fingers to police and army deserters behind the robberies.