MASAKA – Children’s persistent yelling at night was the cardinal lead to the hideout of suspected Allied Democratic Forces – ADF rebels in Masaka, police authorities have revealed.
A joint security team comprising – police’s Flying Squad Unit – FSU as well as the Crime Intelligence burst the suspected ADF cell on Saturday, recovering nine guns and an assortment of improvised explosive devices.
The operation led to a recovery of a PK- machine gun, a revolver, and seven submachine guns. The weapons were recovered from a rental unit in Kyalugo village, Bugabira parish, Nyendo-Mukungwe division on the outskirts of Masaka city.
According to Police, the house had been turned into a hideout, and a coordination cell of Ali Katende, alias Mao – the suspected commander of the criminal gang, which attacked Kyabadaaza Police Station in Butambala district, last month.
Jane Nalubega, the LCI chairperson of Kyalugo cell narrated that the alleged cell was discovered following reports from residents, who had become concerned about children who would regularly cry from the house, especially at night.
She said the house was home to two men, a woman, and two children aged between three and five. Nalubega added that the occupants, who by her perception looked to be destitute and lacked some basic necessities of life, had stayed around for about four months but didn’t have any criminal record.
She, however, noted that in addition to the continuous crying of children who would cause discomfort to the neighbours, some community members also got concerned about how the group was surviving and their sources of livelihood, hence invoking the intervention of the local council leadership.
Acting on the community suspicions, Nalubega said, she asked the village Defence Secretary to start monitoring the movement of the suspects and established that they would spend some days away and often returned with other strange faces.
Patrick Musenzi, one of the neighbours to the alleged ADF hideout revealed that the suspects had told him that they had relocated from Mubende district to Masaka to engage in the grasshopper business.
“They only had a few things in their house, because they regularly told me that they would return to their home area as soon as the grasshopper season had expired in January,” he said.
Musenzi wonders why the authorities did not employ locals to spy on the suspects such that they could be apprehended – because by the time security raided the home on Saturday night, all suspects were away and have since gone into hiding.
Alfred Bagambaki, the Greater Masaka Regional Police Commander, noted that intelligence teams were still in the area to collaborate the information and exhibits to enable them arrest the criminal gang members.
He said that the exhibits were recovered from a concealed pit that the suspects had dug in the backyard of the house they were renting. He explained that they have obtained clear leads into the on-going investigations.
Bagambaki said that in addition to the tip-off from the community, security had also picked intelligence from the suspects who were arrested from Kawempe division in connection to the attacks on Maganjo Police Station.
Additional reporting by URN