By Ambrose Gahene
Over 20 traders in Kitgum Municipality are in tears after unknown thugs broke into their shops and made away with goods worth millions of shillings.
The thugs reportedly broke a total of 21 shops and a bus company office in Owino Market and Kitgum main bus park in Central Cell in Central Division in the early hours of Thursday morning last week.
The affected businesses include retail shops for garments, tailoring and groceries, second-hand clothes, and offices of Kwizera Executive bus company.
Geoffrey Kilama, one of the affected businessmen who deal in second-hand belts, socks, and shorts told Uganda Radio Network in an interview on Thursday that he lost stock worth six million shillings in the morning robbery.
Kilama says the thieves who easily opened padlocks to his shop made away with three bales of clothes that he had just bought from Kampala including several pieces of socks and shorts that were on sale already.
Kilama however wondered how the thieves were able to open so many shops and make away with several goods despite the presence of two armed soldiers deployed within the area to guard their businesses.
Joyce Oyella, another businesswoman and proprietor of Kit Lobo knitting and Tailoring Center whose shop was also broken into says she lost goods worth five million shillings.
Oyella says she had restocked her shop at the start of the second lockdown with goods amounting to 10 million shillings and notes that the losses are devastating since she acquired a loan as capital.
Among the items, Oyella lost are 50 rolls of Kitenge, four pieces of Gomesi, several cartons of threads, zips, and elastic.
Godfrey Toolit, the LCIII Chairperson for Central Division acknowledged receiving reports of the robbery.
He said it could be due to the low number security personnel manning security within the Municipality.
Toolit said they had earlier advised traders especially those at Kitgum Main Bus park to hire armed security personnel for their business premises but many didn’t heed the advice making it easy for the thugs to target their shops.
Kitgum Resident District Commissioner William Komakech said he was yet to get reports on the theft, saying the Police and the office of the District Internal Security Officers were on the ground investigating and pursuing the suspects.
At least six suspected thugs who had allegedly been terrorizing locals and breaking into homes and shops within Central Division were recently arrested by the Police and taken to Kitgum Central Police station.