Beware of conmen on campus

By Justin D. Emedot., :: 29-06-2011

Brenda Amali (not real names) had a very painful encounter with a conman. She left campus for her hostel as she always did, but this time had to unwillingly give away her laptop and phone to a stranger along the way. Here is her story as  told to Justin D. Emedot.

It was a hot Friday afternoon I walked down the Kauga road as I went to my hostel. I had just finished a string of lectures and handed in coursework, so I felt so relieved. My weekend had started.
I gladly smiled and greeted every friend of mine I met along the way. I walked down the dusty road and for once didn’t complain. I kept on singing to the songs I was listening to on my phone, and also thinking of what I was to do that evening.
As I moved closer to the junction that leads to my hostel, my voice had become loud and I was singing along to airplanes. I do remember a man appearing from a road right ahead, but paid no attention to him. It was until I was about three meters from him that I realized that he saying something to me.
“Excuse me sister, I need your help,” I remember him saying. I reluctantly stopped. If it were dark, maybe I’d have been scared. But it was broad daylight, so I felt at ease.
He was a man of medium height, probably in his late twenties. He spoke English with a Luganda accent. I took off both my ear phones to show that he had my full attention.
At that point, he stretched forward his hand and opened his palm. Under it was a round object, the size of a mineral water bottle lead. Before I could say anything, he threw it at me. I found it rather strange, and rude. I then looked down to see what exactly it was. But it wasn’t there, it had disappeared.
I was now terrified, I could feel my heart racing. I looked at the man who was now staring me straight in the eye. I was thinking of running away, far from the strange man. But before I could even lift my first foot, he told me the object he threw was inside my body. I almost fainted.
He then told me the ‘good news’; retrieving the object was very possible, only that it would come at a cost.  He demanded for the laptop that was in my bag and my phone. It was too much for me to take. And said if I tried either calling for help or even telling anyone, it would remain in my body permanently.
That was last semester, but until today, I can’t help shedding a few tears whenever I recall how I handed over my laptop and phone that were a gift from my parents.

This is not the first case of its kind. They have been going on around the university.
“Several cases of people being coned have been reported to us,” explains OC UCU police post, I P Eyowu.
 “We handled several cases last semester, though for this semester they have reduced,”
He says that the conmen always target the students’ phones and laptops.
He however says there are measures to mitigate this problem. He warns the students to avoid walking alone. He says you should always move with a friend whenever you can because single individuals are easy targets.
He adds that you should avoid moving at weird hours, either too early or very late. This is the time they always take advantage because people are few on the streets.
Then you should always report such cases. This helps the authorities during investigations and also plan for preventive measures.
He advises people to always be security conscience.

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