Police in Luweero district has arrested four members of the notorious Three Star gang for allegedly kidnapping a top class pupil and subsequently demanding a ransom of Shs 7 million.
The suspected gangsters have been identified as David Mutyaba, Ashraf Kakembo, Sam Ssempijja and Habibah Lamulah, all residents of Wobulenzi town council and Bamunanika sub county, Luweero district.
They are part of a gang comprising youths aged between 16 and 18 years, with a base in Wobulenzi town. All members of the gang have green three-star tattoos on their hands as a form of identification.
It is alleged that on Friday the gangsters kidnapped Amos Matovu, a 7-year-old pupil at Wobulenzi public primary school and hid him at Ssekamuli village before seeking a ransom from his father Edward Patrick Muwonge. According to Muwonge, the kidnappers hoodwinked the child that they were going to buy him a watch before grabbing him and riding away with him.
Luweero district police commander Ahmed Musakana says that police and Uganda People’s Defense Forces (UPDF) tracked the kidnappers using phones that they were using to demand for a ransom and later found the child at the home of Sam Ssempijja, one of the gangsters at Ssekamuli village.
In an interview with URN, one of the suspects Ashraf Kakembo confessed to engaging in the kidnap but didn’t divulge details of their mission. The police has already preferred charges of kidnap against the four suspects. The child is now undergoing counselling by the Child and Family Protection Unit before he is handed over to his parents.
Luweero resident district commissioner Phoebe Namulindwa condemns the rampant kidnap cases and blamed youths who are using it to get quick money. Namulindwa says that police recently arrested youths who self-kidnapped themselves with intentions of soliciting money from their parents.
According to the annual crime report by the police, Kidnaps have been motivated by the demand for ransom, vengeance by lovers, terrorism, extortion or self-gain from relatives and ritual purposes among others.
A total of 202 persons were registered as victims of kidnap in 2018. Of these, 16 victims were killed, 84 victims were rescued by police and 99 among others were self-kidnap whereas three were still missing by the time of releasing the report.
The penal code act stipulates that a person who kidnaps a person with the intent to procure a ransom or benefit for the liberation of such a person in danger of being murdered commits an offence and is liable to suffer death upon conviction.