Human rights defenders unhappy Gen Katumba attack suspects killed

One Gen Katumba's attackers shot dead, four other suspects arrested
Maj Gen Paul Lokech displays photos of Gen. Katumba Wamala's attackers

Kampala, Uganda | URN | Human rights defenders have tasked investigators of the June 1st, 2021 attempted assassination of Gen. Edward Katumba Wamala to produce a report detailing how security gunned down two prime suspects.

Four assailants riding on two motorcycles riddled Gen. Katumba’s vehicle with bullets at Kisota road, which claimed the lives of his daughter, Brenda Nantongo and Driver, Haruna Kayondo.

On Thursday 1st and Friday 2nd, July 2021, the Deputy Inspector General of Police, Major Gen. Paul Lokech and the Overall Supervisor of the joint investigations team addressed the media where he revealed that security had gunned down Hussein Lutwama aka Lubwama alias Master and Mustafa Kawawa Ramadan alias Amin.

Gen. Lokech said that although Master was not armed, he tried to fight the officers prompting them to shoot him dead. According to Gen Lokech, Amin was shot dead when he tried to flee from the home of Juma Seiko, one of the suspects in Kanyogoga, Bukasa Parish, Makindye Division, in Kampala where two SMGs and a pistol were recovered.

Maj Gen Paul Lokech displays the recovered suspected killer gun
Maj Gen Paul Lokech displays the recovered suspected killer guns

The shooting of the suspects has not gone down well with Human rights defenders/lawyers, saying it is unlawful for security agencies to shoot and kill unarmed suspects. Dr. Livingston Ssewanyana, the Founder of Foundation for Human Rights Initiative (FHRI), says security officers should have maimed the suspects instead of killing them.

He describes the killing of unarmed suspects as extrajudicial killings, saying the security personnel who pulled the trigger should be tried for executing the suspects.

Lawyer Umar Nyanzi from Muslim Centre for Justice, says that the summary execution of the suspects violates article 28 (3) (a) of Uganda Constitution, which states that all suspects are presumed guilty until proven guilty. It provides that “Every person who is charged with a criminal offense shall be presumed to be innocent until proven guilty or until that person has pleaded guilty.”

He says that the two suspects should have been given chance to defend themselves in courts of law.

He also rebukes some media houses that have described the deceased and those in custody as Gen Katumba ‘shooters’ instead of naming them as suspects.

On Friday 2nd, July 2021, Gen Lokech contradicted himself when he claimed that prior to his shooting; Master revealed that he had given the gun to Kasambira Siriman alias Mukwasi. This was in contradiction to his earlier statement on Thursday indicating Master was killed when he engaged the security officers.

One Gen Katumba's attackers shot dead, four other suspects arrested
Maj Gen Paul Lokech displays another photo of one of Gen. Katumba Wamala’s attackers

However by revealing that Master told security that the killer guns were being kept by Mukwasi, shows that he was cooperating with security, which raises questions why he was killed. Security claimed that Master was a skilled martial arts fighter.

Read Also: How security traced and shot dead second suspect in Gen Katumba attack

Gen. Lokech also claimed that Master received special training in the Democratic Republic of Congo since all the motorcycle assassins in Uganda are members of the rebel Allied Democratic Forces –ADF while Mukwasi received training in Tanzania and Mozambique.

Najib Kasule, a human lawyer and member of the Network for Public Interest Lawyers, said that there is need for independent investigations to collaborate the security narrative on the circumstances under, which Master and Amin were killed.

Although, Ssewanyana, Kasule and Nyanzi agree that security is allowed to use reasonable force when a suspect resists arrest, they say Master and Amin should have been maimed but not executed. Gen Katumba attackers, according to Gen Lokech, have also been linked to the killing of Major Muhammad Kiggundu and former Police Spokesperson, Andrew Felix Kaweesi.