By DOREEN ASASIRA
KAMPALA, Uganda[ SHIFTMEDIA] Bus operators in Kampala have intercepted a Uganda People’s Defence Forces (UPDF) soldier, who had concealed an AK47 rifle in a mattress, disembarking a bus at Namayiba Bus Terminal on Tuesday.
The operators discovered the rifle as they were offloading luggage from the bus boot when they felt a hard object in the mattress.
A report published in the Daily Monitor notes that Police officers at the Riverside Police Post told this publication that the bus operators tipped police officers at the nearby post and they responded.
“We seized the mattress and untied the rope holding it only to find an AK47 and an empty magazine. There was also a UPDF uniform. We traced the owner of the mattress and found out that it was a male passenger dressed in civilian clothes, who was returning from the Karamoja region,” a police officer said.
The man was arrested and was identified as Number RA 234736 Private John Okello attached to 3rd Division Headquarters in Moroto District.
When asked to present documents authorizing his movement, he didn’t have any. Security personnel are supposed to carry a document approving their movements from their duty station. Security personnel are often required to hand over their rifle to their supervisors when leaving their duty station for personal errands.
When contacted, Kampala Metropolitan Police deputy spokesman Luke Owoyesigyire confirmed the arrest of the soldier.
“It is true that he was arrested. We thank the bus operators for the vigilance they exhibited after realising a suspicious item being carried by the suspect. We shall hand over the suspect to our brothers in the UPDF for further management,” Assistant Superintendent of Police Owoyesigyire said.
The restive Karamoja region has many illegal firearms, although security operatives have conducted several operations to disarm civilians, mostly cattle rustlers.
Some guns are trafficked from the mineral-rich region to other parts of the country and used in criminal activities, according to security operatives.
Source/ Daily Monitor