The police have shared a warning about a rise in kidnappings involving schoolchildren, particularly targeting parents for ransom money. Fred Enanga, the Police spokesperson, revealed that the Kampala Metropolitan East and Naggalama division are dealing with several disturbing incidents where individuals have gone missing, and two of these cases are confirmed as kidnappings for ransom.
One of the cases involves Hope Biyinzika, a 3-year-old pupil at Skyluck Junior School in Mukono district. On September 22, at 1:00 p.m., Biyinzika was abducted while heading home alone as her parents were working in the garden. The police are actively pursuing the kidnappers. Concerns escalated when the parents received a distressing phone call demanding a ransom of sh2.6 million within 24 hours.
In another alarming incident in the Ssezibwa region and Kayunga, a 2-year-old, Shafik Ssesanga Nsubuga, disappeared on the evening of September 19 from Kangulumira town council. The police received contact from suspects using phone numbers 0786-066269 and 0756-527205. They demanded a ransom of two million shillings. The father of the victim discovered his son’s clothes in a black polythene bag near Equity Bank branch in Kayunga town, along with a chilling threat.
In yet another case in Kasokoso under Kiira division, a 14-year-old Henry Olajo Kanyubi, a pupil at Kampala City Parents School, disappeared while running an errand to buy charcoal for his mother at around 7:00 pm. Despite his mother’s efforts to reach him, Kanyubi did not return home.
Additionally, on September 18, 2023, 15-year-old Christine Mirembe, a senior two student at Buloba High School, disappeared from Kuwumu village. She had mentioned suffering from a headache and the need for a medical checkup.
To help avoid kidnappings, here are some safety tips:
- Stay Informed: Be aware of the security situation in your area and any recent incidents of kidnappings.
- Travel Safely: When traveling, especially in unfamiliar areas, plan your routes and inform someone you trust about your journey.
- Vary Your Routine: Avoid predictable patterns in your daily routine, such as leaving and returning home at the same times every day.
- Be Cautious Online: Avoid sharing personal information on social media, as kidnappers can use this information to target victims.
- Stay Alert: Pay attention to your surroundings, and if something feels off or suspicious, trust your instincts and take precautions.
- Avoid High-Risk Areas: Stay away from areas known for high crime rates or kidnappings, if possible.
- Keep Doors and Windows Secure: Ensure that doors and windows at home and in your vehicle are locked and secure.
- Teach Safety to Children: Educate your children about the risks of abduction and provide them with strategies on how to stay safe.
- Emergency Contact List: Keep a list of emergency contacts and authorities handy.
- Travel in Groups: When possible, travel with others, especially at night.
- Know Emergency Numbers: Memorize emergency phone numbers and have a phone with you at all times.
- Use Safe Transportation: Choose reputable transportation options and avoid hitchhiking.
- Trust Your Gut: If someone or a situation makes you uncomfortable, remove yourself from it and seek help if necessary.
- Security Measures at Home: Install security systems and consider measures like motion-activated lighting.
- Stay Calm in a Crisis: In the unfortunate event of a kidnapping attempt, try to remain calm and cooperate with the kidnapper. Your safety is the top priority.
Remember that safety precautions can vary depending on your location and circumstances, so always adapt these tips to your specific situation and seek local advice when necessary.