ARUA: The security agents in Arua district are scrambling to plug loopholes following a spike in robbery and killings by armed thugs including the shooting of three people last night.

Ms Josephine Angucia, the West Nile region police spokesperson said joint security operations have been stepped up bringing together the police, the army and the intelligence branch while the district security committee was locked up in a meeting to discuss further measures.

Among those killed, she said was Mr Thomas Adiga, a cashier at Buddies pub who was shot dead by robbers who raided the pub at 11:30pm at night.

Ms Angucia said at around 4:00am to 5:00am another wave of shooting rocked the town with gunshots coming from the direction of Muni University.

As the patrol police moved there they found two dead people wearing heavy jackets. They suspected those people had been riding on a motorcycle and that the motorbike could have been robbed by the assailants.

At the scene, the patrol officers collected 15 cartridges of ammunitions and live bullets.

Ms Angucia identified one of the dead as Mr Ibrahim Rashid Anguzu, 27, a resident of Oleva, village in Onzivu parish, Pajulu Sub County. The other person’s identity was yet to be established.

The last night’s killings follow sustained complaints from the public of infiltration by thugs and increased robbery especially of night bus travellers along the hospital road.

Just five days ago a Uganda Peoples Defense Forces soldier was killed at a tradeshow at Arua Hill boma grounds under fuzzy circumstances and his gun, a sub machinegun No: UE0406 with 120 ammunitions taken away.

The soldier RA/223475 Private James Otimong from eastern Uganda was part of a team patrolling the Arua hill area that night when he left the group to go into the tradeshow.

Mr Otimong was attached to the 57th battalion of the 503 brigade in Arua district.

It is unclear how he left the rest of the patrol team to veer into the tradeshow where he met the tragic fate.

Ms Angucia said postmortem by the police surgeon found that the soldier had been hit on the forehead with a blunt object leading to his death.

Maj Telesphon Turyamumanya, the UPDF’s 4th Division spokesman described late Otimong as an experienced soldier who saw a tour of duty in Somalia and was good at receiving instructions.

“I believe he was not expecting any danger at the time he was attacked. Whoever picked that gun did it with a criminal purpose but we will look for that gun until we get it,” he vowed.

Maj Turyamumanya also said justice would be done to the slain soldier and warned that whoever killed the soldier will not go scot free.

Meanwhile Col Bernard Tuhame, the 503 brigade commander urged the public to cooperate with security agents in hunting for the assailants.

He said a lot of intelligence and investigative work was underway but public vigilance and cooperation would be crucial to curb violent crimes in Arua town.

However, the police said nobody has been arrested in connection to the murders and called for public vigilance and information sharing, promising to protect those who divulge sensitive information that can help them recover illicit guns.