Two Ugandan policemen and a businessman are being held in DR Congo and Tanzania on suspicion of entering the countries illegally.
According to police here, officers Bonny Bob Okello, attached to Kyengera police station and Huzaifah Senabulya, attached to the Flying Squad in Mbarara as well as city businessman Anifu Ntege, were in Congo and Tanzania separately to recover stolen vehicles.
“Okello and Ntege crossed into Congo through Vurra customs border point in Arua on September 9 to recover a vehicle stolen from Kampala, Reg. No. UAK 724B Fortune, belonging to Ntege, and arrested the suspects. However, Ntege and Okello were not cleared by the DRC Congo immigration department and were arrested in the process of recovering the vehicle,” Police Spokesperson Fred Enanga told The Observer on Wednesday.
Ntege is said to have reported the theft of his vehicle at Kyengera, under reference CRB 1859 Kyengera. He said the car had been sold in Congo and asked Okello to accompany him to recover it.
“One Umaru Ali, who is also detained at Kyengera police, linked the officers to suspects in Congo that stole the vehicle. When they reached the border point in Arua, where they were supposed to exchange information with Interpol in Congo, they instead used Maj Mulendo of Congo who took them to Turuba town, in north-eastern Congo where they recovered the vehicle,” Enanga said.
On their way back to Uganda, Enanga said, Okello and Ntege were intercepted by a Congolese captain, Mwonge Irunga, who detained them at Aru county headquarters in Congo for illegal entry into the country. The chairman of the Congo-Uganda border security committee, Col Ibrahim Abiriga, said the policemen would be released if the Ugandan police returned a stolen vehicle Reg. No. UAE 400V, a Land Cruiser belonging to Gen Falli Sikabwe of Ituri province, Bunia county, DR Congo, which has been kept at the Chieftaincy of Military Intelligence (CMI) for one and half years now.
Abiriga said the vehicle had been used by security operatives from Congo who had were sent by Sikabwe to arrest Col Erick Ndosa, who deserted the Congolese army and sought refuge in Kampala.
“However, the Congo security operatives who were moving in this vehicle were released and returned to Congo but the vehicle is still kept at CMI without clear reason for about one and a half years now,” he said.
Enanga said to release Sikabwe’s vehicle, the Congolese police must officially write to Uganda police requesting for this vehicle. The deputy police spokesperson, Polly Namaya, said Okello is the second police officer to be arrested in a foreign country this year while recovering exhibits.
The first officer, Huzaifah Senabulya, was arrested in April in Tanzania while tracking suspects who had stolen a motorcycle in Masaka. Senabulya reportedly didn’t know the demarcations of the Uganda-Tanzania border he ended up at a Tanzanian police station, where he was promptly detained for illegal entry.
Namaye said the International Police (Interpol) in Uganda, Congo and Tanzania were working together to fight cross-border crime and make sure the officers were released soon. She urged police officers to always follow immigration procedures when crossing border points.
Source : The Observer