Boda Boda riders clash with police over suspected motorcycle thief

There were running battles in Hoima on Wednesday between police and boda boda riders protesting the release of Joseph Kahimba, a spare parts dealer linked to rampant motorcycle robberies.  Kahimba is the proprietor of Kahimba and sons motorcycle spare parts.

He was picked up on Monday after one of the suspected motorcycle robbers implicated him in motorcycle thefts before he was lynched in Kiryatete. Paddy Aroho was lynched after confessing to have beheaded Godfrey Kunihira, a boda boda cyclist and stealing his motorcycle on Friday. Kahimba was rescued from an angry mob that stormed his shop baying for his blood and taken to Hoima Central Police Station for custody.

He was released on Tuesday evening without charge triggering protests from boda boda riders in the town. More than 200 boda boda riders stormed the office of Hoima Resident District Commissioner on Wednesday demanding an explanation why Kahimba had been released, yet he was implicated in the rampant motorcycle robberies. They accused police of siding with the robbers who continue to kill them.

Abdul Ssekamate, who led the cyclists wondered how such an implicated person, could just be set free.

Ambrose Mwesigye, the Deputy Hoima Resident District Commissioner promised to meet the boda boda cyclists later, saying he was still in a meeting with National Forestry Authority officials. The visibly angry cyclists later descended on Kahimba’s shop on Kwebiha road and attempted to vandalise it.

The rowdy cyclists also vandalised a prado vehicle registration number UAN607K, belonging to one Sena of Sena Motor Spares. Police dispersed the demonstrators shortly.  Heavily armed policemen also conducted patrol on Kwebiha road as the cyclists vowed to vandalise the accused persons’ property.

Police has maintained deployment at Nexus Guest House, which belongs to Kahimba and at his home in Busiisi Division. Julius Hakiza, the Albert Region Police spokesperson, says Kahimba was released on Tuesday evening without charge, saying the businessman had only been kept for safe custody.

Another police officer told URN on condition of anonymity, that they released Kwebiha because there was no evidence pinning on him on the motorcycle thefts. The officer said the absence of evidence has remained a challenge in dealing with similar cases. Kahimba has not yet commented as his whereabouts are still unknown.