Police shoot man stealing grain from train bound for Uganda

Police in Lugari, Kakamega County, have shot dead a suspect in a botched robbery attempt on a train bound for Uganda.

The man, identified as Edward Sirengo, 31, was part of a gang of four. However, his accomplices managed to escape and remain at large.

According to Western Region Railway Police Commander Evans Getembe, there have been increasing reports of robberies targeting freight trains carrying rice, wheat and other grains.

“We have devised new strategies due to the rampant tendency of railway robbery and the officers escorting the freight train braved the night cold at 3.3am to keep vigil on the train. At Mapengo area, five men boarded the train with empty bags, crude weapons and pliers and tried to break the seals of the moving train,” Mr Getembe said.

He said police manning the train ordered the robbers to surrender, but they refused, prompting the officers to open fire.

“They shot at the robbers, fatally wounding one who fell 200 metres away, while four others escaped. It is important for the public to understand the importance of the train and know that it and its goods are secured,” said Mr Getembe.

Some residents of the Mapengo area have condemned the incident, accusing the youths of resorting to theft instead of working to earn a living.

Mr Musa Sirengo, a resident, said cases of robbery were rampant along the railway line and urged the relevant security officials to do more to curb the vice.

“We have been witnessing vandalism of the railway line and stealing of goods from moving trains despite several warnings from the railway authority,” he said.

Mr Sirengo said there had been several botched attempts to vandalise the railway line, which were rescued by villagers.

“It was around 10pm when the three of us were walking across the railway line and saw a gang of nine young men trying to uproot the railway line. We managed to fight them off and reported the incident to the railway office in Lugari,” said Mr Sirengo.

Mr Getembe said police were following up on leads after a mobile phone, pliers and sacks were recovered from the slain robber.

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