By Prossy Namiiro
Police is investigating circumstances under which two high value land cruisers were stolen from Arua and later sold to neighbouring Democratic Republic of Congo where they were later recovered.
According to Police spokesperson, Fred Enanga, unknown thugs broke into United Nations High Commission for Refugeess(UNHCR) offices in Arua last week and whisked away two vehicles number UBK 403N, that had been remodeled into an ambulance and a double cabin pick up registration number UBE 496B.
“The facts gathered indicate that a group of thugs in connivance with the guards broke into UNHCR offices along Yumbe road. They went to the CCTV centre and vandalized cameras and removed footages to kill evidence against them. They vandalized a third motor vehicle they found in the parking,”Enanga said.
The police mouthpiece went on to explain that security tracked down the vehicles and it was established that they had been sold to the North Eastern part of the Democratic Republic of Congo. Uganda Police alerted the DRC Police that seized the two vehicles and took them to Aruu police station in DRC.
He further revealed that police have intensified the hunt for the two Saracen security guards who had been deployed at the UNHCR offices but had fled from the scene and abandoned their guns after the incident happened.
This however is not the first incident in which an ambulance has been stolen from Arua and sold to DRC.
In March 2021, a Ministry of Health ambulance, a Toyota Land Cruiser registration number UG6812M was stolen from the Arua regional referral hospital parking yard.
According to the police spokesperson, such high value vehicles, mostly land cruisers are on high demand in the North Eastern part of DRC which borders Uganda in the North.
“The proximity of West Nile to DRC and the strong demand for four wheel drive vehicles along that axis is a contributing factor to this trend,”Enanga said.
He however noted that whereas many of these cars are stolen from Uganda and end up in DRC, the process of returning them is very difficult.
“Each year, cars are stolen and driven to North Eastern DRC where they generally remain because the process of recovering them is usually very expensive since the innocent buyers on the other side always make their plea to authorities that they bought the vehicles and therefore ask for compensation. It makes it difficult to instantly get these vehicles back to Uganda,”Enanga said.