By Nakanwagi Olivier Mukaaya
Mbale City boda boda cyclists are accusing police of ‘pickpocketing’ them whenever they are arrested past curfew time.
Speaking to this website, most boda boda cyclists said police officers hide in dark spots while enforcing curfew with sticks ready to beat and check their pockets for any money they get.
The cyclists told this reporter that the police does not only take their money but phones as well, take their motorcycles to dark corners and threaten them never to report to the Police Station.
Their accusation follows an incident in which one of their colleagues, a one Ibrahim Mudoma who was attempting to evade arrest by police collided with a fellow cyclist and died on spot.
Cyclists also allege that the officers who move at night do it as individuals and not as an Institution and that’s why they pick peoples belongings.
Stephen Watuwa, a boda-boda rider from Busamaga accused police officers of extortion.
“These policemen have so far taken my money twice. After stopping me I did not hesitate, the first thing they asked me was money then they started to check me thoroughly and took all my shs30, 000,” he said.
David Owari, another boda boda rider of Nkoma Ward said they are tired of police’s torture.
“I was one day beaten by a group of police officers just because I had only Shs1000 in the pocket, they took my motorcycle behind Centenary Bank and told me to go and look for another Shs20,000 before I pick my motorcycle,” Owarui said.
He added; “I was later threatened not to cross to the station if I wanted my motorcycle back so I had to do as instructed.”
Geoffrey Masaba, a resident of Bumyagu village in Bufumbo Sub County said police is after money and taking people’s property from the cyclists.
“They are not enforcing curfew but using the name in order to take people’s property, president should remind them on what they are supposed to do,” Masaba said.
Badrudeen Wamundu, the Speaker Mbale Boda boda Association confirmed the decry and said they have registered a number of similar complaints from the cyclists.
“Police has turned out to be rebels because of their acts like hiding in dark spots like thieves, taking people’s things and most criminals are going to do the same since there is no difference,” he said.
He added; “we have lost so far two cyclists in the same case and it’s high time we look for a way out,”
“We have reported this complaints to the RPC, DPC and other security officers but nothing has been done instead the situation is just worsening,” Wamundu said.
He called upon the President to intervene in the matter before things worsen.
Rogers Taitika, the Elgon police spokesperson said they have received similar cases but are still investigating the matter.
“Residents should be vigilant and report with evidence, let them forward to us because all these police officers have name tags that they can be recognized, let riders not fear because they should be helped,” he said.
He however requested all residents to abide by the curfew laws and make sure they act according to the law.