Uganda Police hunt for Susan Magara killers, pledge UGX 100m for clues

Kidnapped woman Susan Magara found dead
Susan Magara was kidnapped on February 7th. Courtesy Photo

Kampala, Uganda | URN | The Uganda Police has pledged 100 million shillings as a reward to anyone who can identify the people behind the kidnap and eventual killing of Susan Magara, an accountant whose body was found dumped in Kigo, Wakiso Tuesday morning.

Police investigators are in possession of an audio recording believed to be of one of the suspects in the kidnap and murder of the 28-year-old whose body was recovered on the Southern Bypass at Kitiko, a suburb located between Kigo and Kajjansi.

Magara was reportedly kidnapped on February 7 at Kabaka Anjagala road as she was driving to her home in Lungujja, Lubaga Division.

The audio in police possession was recorded during a phone call made by the kidnappers after they dropped two severed hands which they claimed belonged to the deceased and her mobile phones in Namasuba at the residence of Magara’s father.

In the audio, a male voice is heard speaking in Runyoro dialect directing the person on the phone to come to Namasuba and find him at Hashi fuel station. The voice says that the deceased’s severed hands would be found there in a kavera.

While addressing the media this afternoon at the Police headquarters Naguru, Assistant Inspector General of Police (AIGP) Abbas Byakagaba requested the public to use toll free lines to inform police on any lead that they may have.

“We request the public to work with us. If anyone can identify the voice please contact us. Police will reward anyone who can positively identify the kidnapper,” Byakagaba said while reading a statement by the IGP Kale Kayihura.

According to a reliable source who was privy to the investigation, on Thursday last week, unknown people dumped two severed hands and mobile phones at the gate of the father’s house before calling and increasing their ransom to one million dollars.

The kidnappers had initially asked for a ransom of Shilling 60 million. In the first instance, the deceased’s family was willing to pay the money but was stopped by the police.

Police immediately took the dumped hands for a DNA test to establish whether they belonged to Suzan Magara. The results from the DNA analysis, however, proved that the hands were not of Magara.

Other security agencies had since been asked to join police for the search of the 28 year old.

In the police, the search was initially handled by Flying Squad who were later joined by the Kampala Metropolitan Investigative team.

Attempts to track the numbers that were being used by the kidnappers to communicate with the family were futile as they could not be triangulated on the GPS and the call print out showed the numbers had only been used to contact the Magara family.

Parallels with Kakama Murder

Magara’s death evokes painful memories of a similar death, in June 2010, of a one-year-old boy, Khan Kakama.

Kakama was kidnapped on June 8, 2010 from her parents’ home in Bugolobi where the baby was under the care of a maid. The parents, Sven and Naomi Karekaho had gone to work.

In a harrowing episode over the next 13 days, the parents pleaded with the kidnappers to bring the child back home while the kidnappers asked for 30 million shillings as ransom.

While the parents went ahead and sent the money to the kidnappers, it was not enough to save Kakama. Police detectives later arrested two people, Godfrey Tumusiime and Brian Ssajjabi, who led them to where they had dumped the body in Kifumbira zone, Kamwokya, a Kampala suburb.

Tumusiime was in 2012 sentenced to 30 years in jail for Kakama’s kidnap and murder after he pleaded guilty. In a separate trial later, Brian Sajjabi and Mellon Nabaasa, the maid from whom the baby was kidnapped, were sentenced to 50 years in prison each.