Grief As Phone Snatchers Kill City Businessman

Street mobile phone snatchers have broken a four-month lull of peace that Kampala City dwellers have been enjoying since President Museveni directed the deputy Inspector General of Police, Maj Gen Sabiti Muzeyi, to come up with a security plan to deal with increasing crime. The goons attacked motorists in a jam on the Northern by-pass, killing a businessman on Tuesday.

John Byron Owinyi, 45, a resident of Najjera in Wakiso District, was on Tuesday evening hit on the head with a brick and died instantly in an incident that left his younger brother fighting for his life at Nakasero hospital.

Four months down the road, phone snatchers, who had fled heightened security in the city centre, have regrouped in the suburbs and are wreaking havoc.

Owinyi, the husband of Ms Laura Ndagire, an actor in the Ebonies, and Mr Apollo Lakonyero Jumbe and their father were retreating to their home in Najjera when phone thieves waylaid them.
At the time of the incident, Owinyi was from picking up his father from the bus park when a thief snatched Jumbe’s Samsung mobile phone as they approached Kyebando.
“They parked, chased the thief and arrested and put him in the car to take him to police that was about 100 metres away. However, a gang of thugs pounced on them and started beating them,” Ms Ndagire narrated.

She said the father of her two children was hit with a brick while shielding his young brother from blows and he died while sitting on him.

The deceased’s elderly father who was in the car, looked on helplessly as his two sons were being brutalised by the gang.
“His young brother is still unconscious in Nakasero hospital,” Ms Ndagire said yesterday.
She added that police was yet to release the body to the family as they await other family members to arrive in the country for burial.

On Wednesday, family members and friends, especially prominent actors with the Ebonies, kept vigil at the deceased’s home in Najjera.

Kampala Metropolitan spokesperson, Mr Patrick Onyango, said the case has been registered at Kisaasi Police Station as murder by mob.
“Information we received is that an old man was driving a Toyota Premio together with his two sons and in the jam unknown thugs snatched the old man’s phone, the two sons jumped out of the car and chased the thugs and arrested one thug with the stolen phone,” Mr Onyango said in a statement.

He said the occupants put the thug in their car to take him to Butikirwa Police Post which was ahead.

“Still in the jam about 15 men (suspected fellow thieves) surrounded and hit the car in which the thug was, with big stone. They hit the wind screens of the motor vehicle and rescued the thug,” he added.
Mr Onyango said police was called to the scene and took the victims to Mulago but Owinyi died on the way.
He added that the vehicle was towed to Butikirwa Police Post and that efforts were underway to identify and arrest the culprits.

Additional Reporting by DM

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