Be­tween May and Septem­ber last year, 23 women were mys­te­ri­ously mur­dered in the ar­eas of En­tebbe and Wak­iso”

The East African - - NEWS -

June 6 this year, the pres­i­dent as­sured the coun­try that se­cu­rity was guar­an­teed and that the gov­ern­ment had put in place mech­a­nisms to build the in­tel­li­gence gather­ing ca­pac­ity in ur­ban ar­eas and on high­ways.

Two days later on June 8, for­mer Arua mu­nic­i­pal­ity leg­is­la­tor Ibrahim Abiriga to­gether with his body­guard Saidi Kongo were gunned down by as­sailants rid­ing on mo­tor­cy­cles.

The pres­i­dent said there was a high prob­a­bil­ity that Abiriga’s killing was po­lit­i­cal be­cause of his com­mit­ment to the NRM, adding that the “cow­ardly idiots” be­hind the mur­der would be de­feated wher­ever they are.

He asked the Speaker of par­lia­ment Re­becca Kadaga to con­vene a spe­cial ses­sion for him to ad­dress the House on se­cu­rity mat­ters. He did on June 20. In his ad­dress to leg­is­la­tors the pres­i­dent re­as­sured the world that Uganda was safe and that his gov­ern­ment had the ca­pac­ity to guar­an­tee the safety of all peo­ple in Uganda. He then pre­sented a 10-point road map to­wards the same.

This in­cluded the in­stal­la­tion of scan­ners at bor­ders, track­ing so­cial me­dia users, the use of drones to spot crim­i­nals, re­vival of the po­lice emer­gency sys­tem, phys­i­cal de­ploy­ment of po­lice, in­tro­duc­tion of elec­tric num­ber plates and hel­mets, in­stal­la­tion of CCTV cam­eras and fin­ger­print­ing all guns.

As re­cent as last week on Septem­ber 8, three months af­ter the pres­i­dent’s ad­dress to par­lia­ment, a fierce critic of the po­lice force who also hap­pens to be a serv­ing po­lice­man Muham­mad Kiru­mira was as­sas­si­nated. The pres­i­dent vis­ited the crime scene three hours later, and left with two eyewitnesses to the crime.

More talk

In a state­ment later that day, the pres­i­dent said that the crim­i­nals were still us­ing the gaps he iden­ti­fied in his speech to par­lia­ment ear­lier on June 20. “The Po­lice Force is work­ing hard to fill the gaps. They have started in­stalling the cam­eras and other mea­sures are be­ing put in place,” he said.

Fol­low­ing Kiru­mira’s killing, Ugan­dans took to so­cial me­dia to ex­press their hope­less­ness in the state of se­cu­rity. One post summed it up: “If they can kill a se­nior po­lice of­fi­cer, and an MP, what about a simple Ugan­dan?”

At a press con­fer­ence in State House, En­tebbe on Septem­ber 9, the pres­i­dent or­dered the de­ploy­ment and arm­ing of 24,000 Local De­fence Unit of­fi­cers in over 1,000 vil­lages of Kam­pala and Wak­iso dis­tricts for a year, which will cost the coun­try Ush57 bil­lion.

The move has how­ever at­tracted crit­i­cisms from se­cu­rity ex­perts and op­po­si­tion politi­cians who ar­gue that more guns in com­mu­ni­ties will in­crease crime.

The pres­i­dent has called for yet an­other con­fer­ence on Septem­ber 15 to ad­dress the state of se­cu­rity. AS THE coun­try reels from a string of un­ex­plained as­sas­si­na­tions, the list of prom­i­nent tar­gets has been grow­ing, and with it also that of lit­tle known vic­tims whose deaths have been mourned only by their kin.

Those in the lat­ter cat­e­gory fell vic­tim sim­ply be­cause they kept wrong com­pany and were in the wrong places — with in­di­vid­u­als tar­geted by the as­sas­sins. Resty Naalinya is the lat­est such vic­tim.

Ugan­dans are still try­ing to come to terms with this grow­ing list as­sas­si­na­tions tar­get­ing prom­i­nent in­di­vid­u­als.

The death of Ibrahim Abiriga, the Arua Mu­nic­i­pal­ity MP mur­dered in cold blood on June 8 has so far claimed the long­est trail of sub­se­quent killings.

Apart from his brother, Saidi Butele Kongo, who died with him on that fate­ful day, at least six other peo­ple died in clashes at his fu­neral as his sup­port­ers clashed with se­cu­rity agents as his body was be­ing fer­ried to his home district for burial.

More deaths fol­lowed in the process of elect­ing his re­plac­ing in a bu-elec­tion. The elec­tion sparked a tense po­lit­i­cal sit­u­a­tion in the coun­try that peaked with the cur­rent con­test be­tween Pres­i­dent Yow­eri Mu­sev­eni and mu­si­cian-turned politi­cian Robert Sen­tamu Kyag­u­lanyi aka Bobi Wine. The by-elec­tion it­self and the af­ter­math re­sulted in at least two more killings that could have pos­si­bly been avoided had Abiriga not be as­sas­si­nated.

For­mer As­sis­tant In­spec­tor Gen­eral of Po­lice (AIGP) An­drew Felix Kaweesi who was mur­dered on March 17, 2017 near his home in the Kam­pala sub­urb of Ku­lam­biro, still has the high­est num­ber of col­lat­eral dam­age vic­tims as he was killed to­gether with his driver and body guard. 26-year-old Resty Naalinya was killed to­gether with the for­mer Buyende District po­lice com­man­der, Muham­mad Kiru­mira on Septem­ber 8, in Bu­lenga near Kam­pala. Naalinya was a mo­bile money op­er­a­tor and a friend of Mr Kiru­mira who hap­pened to be in his car when the as­sas­sins struck. He was driv­ing AIGP An­drew Felix Kaweesi on that ill-fated morn­ing of March 17, 2017 when they were am­bushed just a few me­tres from Kaweesi’s home. Ques­tions re­main about whether he played a role in Kawesi’s as­sas­si­na­tion as in­ves­ti­ga­tors search for clues on why he stopped or failed to ap­ply de­fen­sive driv­ing skills to try and avoid the am­bush. The Land Cruiser V8 which he was driv­ing is a pow­er­ful SUV with suf­fi­cient thrust to out­pace the as­sas­sins who were on mo­tor­cy­cles but there was no ev­i­dence he even tried to dodge them. Kongo was a younger brother and body guard of Arua mu­nic­i­pal­ity leg­is­la­tor, (Rtd) Col. Ibrahim Abiriga. They were killed on June 8, 2018 as they headed back home in the MP’S car. The fam­ily said that Kongo used to joke that if death was to come for him, he would die to­gether with his brother Abiriga. Kawuma was the driver of Robert Kyag­u­lanyi aka Bobi Wine, the MP of Kyan­dondo east. Kawuma was shot by se­cu­rity forces in a fra­cas at the height of the Arua by- elec­tion to re­place the as­sas­si­nated MP Ibrahim Abiriga. Po­lice said he was killed by a stray bul­let. Mukasa was killed to­gether with Mus­lim cleric Sheik Maj. Mo­hammed Kig­gundu, one of the for­mer com­man­ders of the rebel Al­lied Demo­cratic Forces (ADF) who had turned gov­ern­ment col­lab­o­ra­tor and one of the top mo­bilis­ers of for the NRM gov­ern­ment do­ing the talk show cir­cuit es­pe­cially on Lu­ganda Ra­dio sta­tions. He used the plat­form to per­suade his for­mer col­leagues still hold­ing out to take up the of­fer of the gov­ern­ment amnesty. A Sergeant, Muk­isa was both a driver and body­guard of Maj. Kig­gundu. Ra­man­than Wa­lyendo, 30, suc­cumbed to gun­shot wounds he sus­tained dur­ing a cam­paign rally held along in Bu­giri mu­nic­i­pal­ity. He was a mem­ber of the se­cu­rity de­tail of Bu­giri Mu­nic­i­pal­ity MP con­tes­tant Asuman Basalirwa. Po­lice said he was killed by a stray bul­let. Cor­po­ral Ken­neth Erau, was the body­guard of the as­sas­si­nated po­lice spokesman AIGP An­drew Felix Kaweesi who was killed shield­ing his boss from a hail of bul­lets fired at the ve­hi­cle in which they were trav­el­ling. Erau was rais­ing his 12 sib­lings and tak­ing care of his fa­ther’s two wid­ows. Racheal Aye­baz­ibwe was a fi­nal year stu­dent at the Kyam­bogo Univer­sity. She was to grad­u­ate in De­cem­ber this year, hav­ing com­pleted a three-year Bach­e­lor’s De­gree in Mi­cro­fi­nance in June. She was hit by a stray bul­let dur­ing the #Free­bo­bi­wine protests in the city. She was in a coma un­til when she breathed her last. The two foot­ball fans were killed in Mityana as two po­lice of­fi­cers opened fire on a taxi they were trav­el­ling in to a foot­ball match. This was dur­ing a vi­o­lent protest over the ar­rest, de­ten­tion and al­leged tor­ture of their MP Fran­cis Zaake. The po­lice of­fi­cers are on the run.

Pic­ture: AFP

at are yet to be solved.

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