Police in Uganda are investigating a case in which soldiers raided a police station in Ndejje, Wakiso District, just outside the capital Kampala on Wednesday night, where they held officers on duty at gunpoint before freeing fellow colleagues who had been detained for allegedly staging illegal roadblocks.
The incident took place at the Lumuli Police Station in Ndejje Parish on Entebbe Road, Wakiso District.
"We are investigating the aggravated robbery and also aiding suspects to escape from lawful custody," Kampala Metropolitan Police deputy spokesman, Assistant Superintendent of Police Luke Owoyesigyire said on Thursday.
It is alleged that suspects armed and dressed in military fatigues erected an illegal roadblock at Kakoola village in Ndejje Parish on Wednesday at around 9.30 pm.
Victims reported being robbed to the police who dispatched a patrol car with armed personnel.
Upon seeing a police car, the suspects fired several bullets in the air. But the officers stood their ground, confronted the suspects and disarmed them. A source said the suspects, identified as privates Job Reti and Orete Were, were arrested and detained at the Lumuli Police Station for questioning.
What appeared to be a success for police was, however, short-lived when hours later a Toyota Land Cruiser occupied by eight armed soldiers stormed the station. They demanded that the police hands over the two suspects.
The source said when the police declined, the soldiers drew their guns, subdued the officers and freed the two suspects.
Police identified the leader of the group that aided the escape of suspects as Uganda's Peoples Defence Force Sergeant Tonny Opio and another as Pius Lutaya.
The soldiers later reported a case at Mutungo Police Station in Wakiso District claiming that the suspects were injured and had been taken for treatment at a health facility, which they did not disclose.
There have been increased cases of illegal roadblocks in Kampala and districts of Wakiso, Mityana and Greater Luweero. The gang members allegedly dressed in military fatigue, erect barricades in the middle of the road and pretend to be on routine security checks.
When unsuspecting motorists set their foot off the gas pedal, the thugs strike with all their might.
The army has on several occasions denied allegations that their officers are involved, accusing civilian gangs of stealing military equipment and using it to commit crime.
Police commanders at the Kampala Metropolitan Police said they would contact army officials to help in re-arrest the suspects in the Ndejje incident and those who aided their escape.