KAMPALA – Residents in Uganda say they are living in fear as the bodies of young women continue to appear on roadsides in the capital.
A total of 20 murdered women have been found on the streets of Kampala since May, prompting harsh criticism of the police.
Opposition politicians have accused the force of neglecting crime to focus on political control, as bodies continue to emerge despite more than a dozen arrests being made.
The unsolved murders have caused fear among locals, who are also concerned that Ugandan police are failing to do their job.
“It’s terrifying… The police need to tell us who is slaughtering people like this,” a local woman said as she stood near a drainage channel where the latest victim was found.
According to local media reports, some victims were sexually assaulted before they were killed.
The government has defended the police force, with detectives saying 13 out of the 30 suspects arrested have been charged.
The motive for the killings is unclear, but police say possibilities range from domestic rows to ritual murders.
Police spokesman Asan Kasingye said: “Ritual killing is one of the motives that we suspect, we also think there might be cases of jilted lovers.
“Other theories might come up as investigations progress.”
Acknowledging public outrage, some politicians stopped working for two days after the 20th body was found – and claimed government ministers had failed to appear before the legislature to answer question about the killings.
A report in 2014 by the Ugandan government’s inspector general claimed that the police force was “the most corrupt public institution in the country” as crimes were rarely investigated.
Uganda is ranked among the world’s most corrupt countries by the watchdog Transparency International.
“I have stopped moving about at night. He could be a serial killer. I don’t know where he will strike next,” said Deo Busulwa, who lives near where the latest body was found.
Mr Kasingye said on Wednesday that the killings are unrelated, and there is no evidence yet of a serial killer.