Kampala, Uganda | URN | Five suspects covered with bruises, wounds and burn marks have been arraigned before the Chief Magistrate’s Court in Nakawa on charges of terrorism and the subsequent murder of the daughter and driver to the Minister for Works and Transport General Katumba Wamala.
Those charged on Thursday 8, July 2021 before Chief Magistrate Dr Douglas Singiza are; Muhammad Kagugube alias Musiramu alias Mugisha alias Mbavumoja, a boda boda rider and a resident of Kikaaya zone, Kanyanya in Kawempe division and Kamada Walusimbi alias Mudinka, also a boda boda rider and a resident of Nabweru Zone 2.
Others are Siriman Ayuub Kisambira alias Mukwasi Koja, a peasant and a resident of Kabaganda village in Kasangati town council, Abdulaziz Ramathan Dunku, a tailor/car seats repairer, resident of Matugga and Habib Ramanthan Marjan, a religious teacher.
These appeared in court with visible injuries on their bodies claiming that they had been tortured, their bodies pricked all over with needles and nails, beaten, while others burnt in the back and their private parts, have been charged with one count of terrorism, two counts of murder and two counts of attempted murder.
Court heard that the accused persons and others still at large between the months of March 2015 and June 2021 in various places in Uganda, directly involved themselves in the murder of police personnel, Uganda People Defense Forces (UPDF) personnel and civilians and attacks on some police establishments.
It is alleged that this was done with intent to intimidate the public or a section of the public and for political, religious and social economic aim and indiscriminately without due regard to the safety of others or property.
The prosecution also alleges that the duo and others still at large caused the unlawful death of Gen Katumba Wamala’s daughter Brenda Nantongo Katumba, and his driver Haruna Kayondo, by shooting them to death on June 1st 2021, along Kisota road in Kisaasi Nakawa division in Kampala district.
Gen Katumba Wamala survived but sustained injuries which he is currently recovering from.
According to the prosecution, on the same day, the accused persons attempted to murder the bodyguard of Gen Katumba Wamala, Sergent Khaled Kuboit and Boniface Mucunguzi, a bystander who was shot in the leg at the scene of crime.
However, shortly after reading to them the said five charges, the accused persons were not allowed to say anything about them since they are capital in nature.
The prosecution led by Barbara Kyomugisha informed court that investigations were still on going. It was an emotional moment as some of the accused persons kept bursting in tears in court on top of their voices stating that it was due to the pain inflicted on their bodies while in custody.
But the accused person’s lawyers led by Geoffrey Turyamusiima told court that his clients were arrested approximately two weeks ago and had allegedly been tortured which is an infringement on their rights to liberty and fair hearing.
Turyamusiima asked court to issue an order that the accused be taken to Mulago National Referral Hospital for treatment arguing that the court had powers to discharge anybody whose rights had been infringed upon.
But here, the Chief Magistrate took a short break of ten minutes saying that he was going to consult on where to remand the accused persons.
Dr Singiza then returned with a ruling rejecting the prayer for total discharge saying that only the High Court has powers to entertain such a request adding that their lawyer will explain more to them and they see how to take their complaints forward.
The Chief Magistrate later ordered that the accused persons be taken to Kitalya government prison on remand but with specific orders that when they reach there, the prisons authorities subject them to medical examination. He added that the prisons authorities should then make a report which should be furnished to his court on the day for mention on August 3rd, 2021.
The charge sheet tendered on Thursday 8, July 2021 also showed that it had been amended to include two other suspects, Sheik Yusuf Siraji Nyanzi and Hussein Sserubula alias Imam Muto who were remanded last week over the same shooting.
This duo also now faces charges of terrorism and the attempted murder of Gen Katumba Wamala’s body guard which were previously not levied against them.
The accused persons were charged amidst a tense and tightened security environment of both uniformed and non-uniformed police officers who were carrying firearms.
The group is the one that brought the accused persons to court in two Toyota Hiace cars commonly known as Drones without any number plates while being escorted by several other police vehicles.
Their lawyer Turyamusiima has condemned the alleged torture inflicted on his clients.