Police in the Kiira region have confirmed the arrest of Rachel Burungi, 30, a resident of Budhumbuli West Cell in Bugembe Ward in Jinja City Northern Division.
Burungi is accused of masterminding machete attacks across Kiira policing territory and surrounding areas. Burungi was apprehended while hiding in the ceiling of her rented house on Tuesday evening.
Four suspected accomplices, Adam Ndiye, Henry Mudhumba, Michael Musinguzi, and Bosco Nalucho, were also arrested. According to the Kiira Regional Police spokesperson, James Mubi, Burungi had been on their wanted list for the past two months due to reports of machete attacks in various wards of the Northern Division.
GPS tracking devices linked her to all the crime scenes, leading to her identification as a prime suspect. Mubi revealed that Burungi would disappear to undisclosed locations, but detectives obtained coordinates from one of the stolen phones, leading them to her rented house in Budhumbuli West. Upon searching the premises, they found housebreaking equipment.
Although police initially planned to leave without her, sniffer dogs indicated the presence of suspects, prompting the authorities to search the ceiling where Burungi and the other suspects were discovered. It is alleged that Burungi collected data on residents accessing targeted areas during rush hours at night and in the morning.
This information enabled her to deploy young boys to attack victims discreetly. The young boys, sometimes dressed in school uniforms, would approach the victims under the guise of seeking help. They would then be joined by older suspects armed with machetes. Mubi stated that intelligence information revealed that after the attacks, the children would disappear, and the older suspects would demand money or valuables such as smartphones, watches, and designer bags from the victims.
Burungi was accused of collaborating with other suspects who are still at large to rebrand and resell the stolen items to unsuspecting buyers. In her statement, Burungi confessed to the crimes and claimed to possess unique ICT skills that allowed her to work with various criminal gangs involved in similar attacks. However, she maintained that she was unaware of the key leaders of these gangs. The suspects are currently awaiting further prosecution after providing their statements to the police.
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