The forgotten victims of assassinations and mystery murders in Uganda

Saturday September 15 2018

Crime scene

As Uganda 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. FOTOSEARCH 

CHARLES M. MPAGI
By CHARLES M. MPAGI
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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 by-election.

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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.

  • Resty Naalinya

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.

  • Yassin Kawuma

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.

  • Kenneth Erau

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.

  • Godfrey Mambewa

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.

  • Steven Mukasa

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.

  • Racheal Ayebazibwe

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.

  • Saidi Butele Kongo

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.

  • Ramanthan Walyendo

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.

  • Jingo Lawrence and Samuel Ssekitoleko

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.

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