ARUA. Arua city and district leaders have renewed calls for a concerted effort for the recovery of the stolen referral hospital ambulance and arrest of its thieves.

The theft of the ambulance has also continued to generate acrimony among local leaders where a section of the hospital management has been accused of conniving with thieves who stole the ambulance.

The Toyota Land Cruiser ambulance with registration number UG 6813 M that was given to Arua regional referral hospital last year by the ministry of health was stolen from the hospital premises on 17th March this year.

According to the Mayor of Arua central division, Mr Khemis Muzaidhi, police investigations into the ambulance issue are dragging on too long. He said the absence of the ambulance has created transportation challenges in referring patients during the pandemic.

“Today if we have a serious patient to be referred to Mulago, the patient may not move because of overwhelming demand on the few imbalances. In the process of stealing it, the ambulance went through the gate when the watchmen were watching. But the hospital administrator does not take the required actions and I will not keep quiet over the matter”, Muzaidi said.

Arua City Resident Commissioner, Mr Martin Orochi on his part claimed that demand by some stakeholders in the recovery process of the ambulance is political and self-centered as police continue with investigations.

He added that the matter has become an international issue because of the allegations that the ambulance was smuggled to Democratic republic of Congo which then has been left in the hands of Interpol.

Dr Joyce Moriku Kaducu, who is also a former state minister for primary health care also demanded for recovery of the ambulance while state minister for Northern Uganda, Ms Grace Freedom Kwiyucwiny asked politicians and the general public who have information about the ambulance to give it to police or local leaders for action.

Arua Hospital director, Dr Filbert Nyeko however said management of the hospital is committed to the follow-up of the ambulance but said they were limited as the matter is in hands of the police.

Police spokesperson for West Nile region, Mr Hudson Oceng confirmed that police investigation into the matter is still ongoing.

The disappearance of the ambulance went viral on social media platforms in late March and April with many venting their anger towards the hospital administration for having a hand in the theft of the ambulance and the police for being too slow in investigating and finding the culprits.