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UGANDA: Gun wielding bandits take over Entebbe – Kampala Expressway

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Ugandans and tourists are being warned to watch out for  *Thugs on Entebbe Expressway*. The following was received from a reliable source who lived this experience over the weekend.

Last night, Saturday 10th February, at approximately 11:20pm we were attacked by thugs on the Entebbe Expresssway at a “road block” setup by guys in army uniform holding AK47s.

When coming from Entebbe on the expressway, right after you pass the half-completed toll booth there is a bridge over the swamp, the road block was just after the bridge when heading to Kampala from Entebbe. There is that section right after the bridge where you have to change from the right two lanes to the left two lanes via the gap in the lane divider. About 10 meters after you change into the left two lanes we ran into the road block. It looked and felt like a proper roadblock.  There was no immediate tell-tale sign. There were two guys in military fatigues (full combat head to toe) with AK47s one in our lane and one in the next lane (catching cars coming from Kampala) and about 6-8 guys with torches waving the cars down.  The torches were big LED-torches some with very light blue light and some with soft white light.

We were a convoy of three cars (we were all strangers to each other). There was  a car ahead and a car behind mine.  Right after we turned into the left two lanes we moved into the extreme left lane of the two lanes I saw the car ahead slow down.  I could see using his headlights that there was an army guy with an AK47 in the road asking him to stop and I could see with my lights another army guy in the right-hand lane of our two lanes also with an AK47 then lots of other guys with torches.

The lead car stopped. They approached the lead car and started to talk with the driver it seemed. I stopped a bit far away behind him just as a precaution. Then after a few seconds I saw the car ahead dart first right then left then take off towards Kampala.  The first thought I had was that the guy was dodging spikes in the road and had fled (there were no pikes at all but the way his car swerved looked like someone dodging spikes).

The roadblock still looked legitimate. My next thought was that the are going to think I will run as well. The army guy in front of the car with the AK47 ran towards us, that is also when I noticed a third army guy with an AK47 on the left running towards the passenger door.  The other guys with torches also started running towards us all of them shouting STOP STOP.

So they converged on my car. One army guy in front and one army guy on the passenger side and six or more guys with torches in plain clothes (the one army guy in the right lane stayed where he was). They quickly started banging on windows hard shouting STOP STOP.  I could hear metal hitting glass on the passenger door window so knew one of the army guys was using the metal part of his gun on the window.

I stopped.

The banging intensified and I could hear them trying to open the doors both front and rear. Still I thought This was because the car ahead had fled.  Then the passenger side window started cracking from repeated blows and glass shards were flying into the car. My friend Jonathan shouted PARK PARK. I put the car in park (but the engine was still on) and I decided to lower my window about 6 inches and stick out my hands out to show them that my hands were off the steering and I was not trying to run/flee like the car ahead. As soon as my hands went out through the 6 inch gap I saw two different hands (of two different men) come in via the open window gap trying to get the car keys and switch off the car. Luckily for me my car’s ignition is not on the right-hand side of the steering column. When I saw those hands it clicked that this was not a legitimate roadblock and I put the car in drive and sped off.  At the same time as I was putting the car in drive, one of the thugs put both hands on the top part of the open window and pulled causing the top part of the glass to break/bend outwards as I sped off. The whole incident took a total time of maybe 10 seconds but felt like 3 minutes.

I sped away for about 500 meters at high speed then slowed to about 30 kph to warn cars heading to Entebbe about the thugs.  We passed maybe 10 cars (we put on double indicators and flashed our lights and I put my hand out the window indicating them to stop). About 4 stopped and we warned them about 6 ignored our efforts to stop and kept going. I noticed after about 2-3 cars not stopping and passing us (about 5-10 minutes after the incident) that the car behind us in the convoy had caught up and was also trying to warn cars going to Entebbe and was also flashing its lights. I do not know how long they stayed at the roadblock but it seemed it was much longer than us by the time it took them to catch up.

I had seen the earlier story on WhatsApp a few months ago about the army guys who had setup a roadblock on the expressway between Munyonyo and Kajjansi after a wedding and robbed people and knew that route was dangerous but never thought thugs would set one up right on the doorstep of Nkumba. Also 11:20pm is not really late.

Thank God Jonathan and I are safe and that no bullets were fired.  But it was very scary. The guns were real and the calmness of the soldiers made the roadblock look and feel real.







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