ARUA. Police of Arua is investigating circumstances under which a 19-year-old man attempted to steal a bus belonging to Nile Star Company in Arua on Friday.

Juma Andama, a resident of Adalafu Parish, Pajulu sub-county in Arua district was intercepted by police at Odianyadri trading centre in Vurra sub-county along Arua-Nebbi highway as he was driving the bus with a total of 16 passengers to an unknown destination.

Ms Josephine Angucia, the West Nile region police spokesperson confirmed the incident and said Andama stole the Nile Star bus with registration number UBF 618T from the bus terminal in the absence of its official driver.

“It so happened that at around 9:30 am at Nile Star bus terminal along Adumi road in Arua town, Andama went to the bus terminal and drove the bus up to Odianyadri trading centre where police intercepted him on receiving information from the bus management,” Angucia said.

According to Angucia, Andama took advantage of the bus when its official driver ignited it to warm the engine and moved to dress up, leaving the door of the bus open with the key inside.

“The few passengers had already boarded but this Andama came from nowhere, entered the bus and started driving. Inside the bus was the conductor who thought it was the official driver driving, they moved on for a distance of about 5km and that was when he turned to see that it was a different person driving. He immediately alerted the management who later informed police,” Angucia explained.

“We quickly swung in action to intercept the bus and arrested Andama who is now in our custody. Meanwhile, the bus which had 16 passengers was also brought to Arua CPS, photographed and later released to continue to Kampala on arrival of the official driver,” Angucia added.

She said police pressed charges of stealing a vehicle contrary to section 254 (1) and 265 of the Penal Code Act against the suspect as investigations continue into the matter vide Arua CRB 2897/2019.

He said Andama will also be subjected to a mental checkup to ascertain his mental status.

One of the passengers who spoke to this reporter on condition of anonymity said they were not aware that it was a different driver driving them but kept on wondering why they left before 10:00 am, the actual departure time.

However, when contacted on phone, Mr Twaha Agarile, the Nile Star Bus Company Proprietor blamed the mess on the conductor and the guards whom he said relaxed on duty.

“The incident took us by surprise as management since it is the first of its kind but I think, there was an element of laxity on the side of the conductor and the guards on duty,” Agarile said.

He urged his customers not to worry, promising that they are going to improve on their security at the terminal by bringing in armed security personal to take control of the area.