Two technicians from telecom giant MTN Uganda are part of the five people who were arrested by the Criminal Investigations Directorate –CID over the weekend on allegations of vandalizing the telecom masts in Mbarara and Isingiro districts. They are Richard Lubega and Godfrey Masaba.
The other suspects are Charles Tumusiime, Jackson Owera and Ivan Kizito, all residents of Ndeeba in Lubaga Division in Kampala. The suspects were picked up in an operation led by Francis Olugu, the head of the General Crimes Desk against vandals targeting telecom masts in Western Uganda after it became apparent that there was deliberate interference with the MTN network.
Covert police personnel were deployed around various masts, which led to the successful arrest of five people who were found vandalising a mast at Nyaruti in Isingiro and another in Ruti in Mbarara. “We don’t know what motivates these technicians to engage in this kind of crime.
They are the people who should be helping these telecoms to protect these masts. Shockingly, they are instead promoting and participating in vandalizing masts,” a senior detective who participated in the operation said.
CID is investigating cases of vandalism in Mbarara and Isingiro. The other three suspects have reportedly told CID that they target the masts purposely to steal generators, fuel, nozzles, solar panels and batteries.
The suspects were found a Golf motor vehicle UAH 096Q, which they had branded MTN emergency team. “These people could use GPS to locate these masts. For an ordinary vandal, he would be vandalizing any mast he comes across. But these people could leave Kampala tracing particular masts,” a detective said.
According to detectives, most of the parts stolen from the masts end up being sold in Kampala mostly in Kisenyi scrap and metal shops. The Investigators says the operations are still ongoing and are expected to extend to various districts of Western Uganda.