1200 motorcycles impounded in night curfew operations

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More than 1200 motorcycles were impounded during joint security operations held last night in the enforcement of nighttime curfew regulations.

Uganda has maintained a nighttime curfew running from 9 p.m. until 5: 30 a.m. every day, as one of the measures put in place by the government to restrict movement and control the spread of coronavirus disease. The movement of motorcycles is restricted to 6 pm.

However, these guidelines had since been abandoned and the curfew had not been enforced in several parts of the country where the movement of people was never restricted even during curfew time. Bars are also operating freely, even though, according to presidential guidelines, such businesses are super-spreaders of the COVID-19 virus.

Over the weekend, joint security agencies comprising the Uganda Police, Uganda Peoples Defence Forces and the prisons services cautioned that they were intensifying night operations in the enforcement of curfew. This, they said,  was to ensure that Uganda is able to control the spread of the new COVID-19 variant, that was detected in the country.

Last night, military, police and Local Defence Units –LDU personnel mounted roadblocks at various roads at exactly 6 pm, forcing riders to abandon their motorcycles in the middle of the roads to escape the wrath of the armed personnel. The motorcycles were loaded on towing vehicles and driven to nearby police stations.

Kampala Metropolitan Deputy Police Spokesperson Luke Owoyesigyire said that security agencies intensified operation because there was a need to remind riders and drivers to respect the curfew time. During the same operations, 33  vehicles were impounded while more than 50 suspects were arrested for failing to comply with the Ministry of Health guidelines against the spread of COVID-19.

“After intensifying operations on curfew in Kampala Metropolitan Area, our division police have impounded 1,200 motorcycles and 33 motor vehicles. Most motorists will be issued with express penalty fines while others will be arraigned in courts of law on allegations of doing negligent acts likely to spread Covid-19,” Owoyesigyire said.

Security sources who participated in the operation last night said that more than 100 drivers spent the night at nearby police stations for defying the 9 p.m. curfew. “We had very many drivers whom we arrested for driving past curfew time. We released them in the morning but those who were defiant, we have kept their vehicles,” a police source said.

Several motorcycles were found parked at police stations such as Wandegeya, Jinja Road, Kira Road, CPS Kampala, Old Kampala, Katwe and Nateete. Jinja Road and Katwe had more than 100 motorcycles while other police stations had over 50 motorcycles.

The operation came at the eve of the swearing-in ceremony of Yoweri Museveni, as he starts his sixth term as president of Uganda. He was declared winner of the January 14 presidential elections with 58 per cent of the total votes cast while closest challenger Robert  Kyagulanyi Ssentamu alias Bobi Wine scored 35 per cent.

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