Updated by Faith Barbara Namagembe at 2228 EAT on Wednesday 20th July 2022.
The police in Entebbe has recovered three pupils of Greenhill primary school, Buwaate, in Wakiso district who went missing on Monday.
The learners aged between 13 years and 14 years were allegedly signed out from the school by their parents on Monday at around 6 pm. Entebbe district police commander Vincent Irama, says police officers attached to Entebbe Central police station picked up the pupils at Stanbic bank, Entebbe branch on Monday at 11 pm.
“We got a call from Kasangati police station that three boys were stranded at Stanbic bank. They were still in school uniform,” Irama says.
Benon Lubwama, the headteacher of Greenhill primary school Buwaate campus, had on Monday evening reported a case of disappearance. According to Lubwama, the three boys escaped from school and were seen leaving in a rental Uber vehicle.
Upon interrogation, the learners ordered the Uber vehicle to pick them up from school and drop them in Entebbe where they would stay at the residence of one of their classmates.
The classmate, however, did not travel with the boys but gave them an Eco bank ATM card belonging to his father and told them to withdraw at least Shs 800,000 and then use part of that money to pay the Uber driver when they reach Entebbe.
However, when the schoolboys tried in vain to withdraw money at the Eco bank ATM point in Entebbe town, they proceeded to dfcu bank ATM, which also failed, before moving to Stanbic bank. After several unsuccessful attempts, the Stanbic bank ATM machine captured the card.
According to the police, a private security guard at the ATM point saw the boys stranded.
“They told the guard that they had been kidnapped. When the guard asked them for a contact of someone to call for help, they provided that of the headmaster Lubwama. It is Lubwama who then alerted Kasangati police officers that the boys were at Stanbic bank, Entebbe branch,” one of the police officers at Entebbe said.
Irama explains that the police officers picked up the learners and the private security guard. The Uber driver, whose identity was withheld due to ongoing investigations, was also asked to report at Entebbe police station and later Kasangati police station where he recorded a statement.
According to Irama, investigations so far indicate that it was not a case of kidnap, as the schoolboys had alleged, but rather one of possibly faking their disappearance.
“These boys told us that they were not kidnapped. They left school knowing that they would withdraw money and have fun at the home of their classmate, so they were excited to come to Entebbe,” Irama said.
An audio clip recorded by a woman claiming to be a parent of one of the boys says that the boys indeed had planned to travel to Entebbe.
In a statement released on Wednesday, Greenhill Schools management, says the three primary seven candidates left the school after classes on Monday, July 18 in the evening.
“They had been signed out by their parents, so they were literally in the custody of the parents though still on the school premises,” part of the statement reads.
The school also denied social media reports that the boys were traveling abroad.
“Their planned destination is unknown. They did not have any travel documents or money for long-distance travel. They are minors and are in their parent’s custody at the moment,” read the statement.