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Gen Katumba attempted murder trial starts July 18

Gen Katumba Wamala attempted murder scene

Gen Katumba Wamala attempted murder scene

The International Crimes Division (ICD) of the High court has constituted panels to hear two high-profile cases of the murder Maj Muhammad Kiggundu and the attempted murder of former Chief of Defence Forces (CDF), Gen Katumba Wamala. 

Wamala, who is currently serving as minister of Works and Transport survived by just a whisker. However, his daughter Brenda Nantongo Wamala and driver Haruna Kayondo were murdered by the attackers whose motive still remains unknown. The first panel led by head of ICD justice Dr Andrew Bashaija, Dr Winifred Nibisinde, justices Richard Wejuli Wabwire and lady justice Susan Okalany will handle the Katumba's attempted murder.

Eight people are standing trial on dozens of charges including terrorism, murder, aggravated robbery, attempted murder financing terrorism activities, and belonging to a terrorist organization. The accused persons are, Sheikh Yusuf Nyanzi, Hussein Sserubula, Muhammad Kagugube, Sirimani Kisambira, Abudullah Aziz Ramadhan, Dunka, Kamada Walusimbi, Habib Ramadhan Marjan and Huzaifah Wampa.

The prosecution alleges that the accused persons were involved in various crimes, including multiple murders and robberies committed at different locations. The exhibits recovered during police searches include firearms, ammunition, motorcycles, hoods, ropes, and materials related to terrorism. The evidence also suggests that the recovered firearms were previously used in other high-profile murder cases.

The panel of judges to try the accused selected assessors including Sarah Namayanja, Lawrence Mukasa, and Albert Kasasa. Assessors are ordinary people with an average understanding of the law. The panel further fixed the hearing of this case to commence on July 18 and further remanded the accused persons.

The prosecution was represented by the assistant director of public prosecutions, Lino Anguzu while lawyer Geoffrey Turyamusiima represented the accused persons. Relatedly, the same court headed by justice Bashaija and three other judges has fixed the Kiggundu murder case to commence hearing next month July 15.

The Uganda People's Defence Forces (UPDF) officer was killed on November 26, 2016, alongside his bodyguard Sgt Steven Mukasa. The trial panel comprises Bashaija and lady justices Patricia Basaza, Alice Komuhangi Khauka, and Susan Okalany. The court assessors will remain the same with John Martin Ofwono coming on board instead of Lawrence Mukasa.

The prosecution represented by assistant DPP Anguzu, Thomas Jatiko, and chief state attorney Lilian Omara has been directed to provide a schedule to defense counsel detailing the number of witnesses and their order of appearance and the witness protection. 

The accused persons in the Kiggundu murder case are; Sheikh Yahaya Mwanje, Yusuf Nyanzi, Mohammed Buyondo alias Matiya, Abdu Wahab Sendegeya, Musa Ssekandi alias Masanafu, Jibril Kalyango aliaz Bin Suleiman, Bruhan Balyejusa Kalyango and Noordin Lutaya alias Ibrahim Ssemwanga alias Superman.

Available evidence indicates that the prime suspect, Sheikh Yahaya Mwanje was seen along the Northern by-pass shortly before Kiggundu and his bodyguard Mukasa were murdered in Masanafu, a Kampala suburb on November 26, 2016. Yet before the attack, he had reportedly released recordings containing hate speech sentiments directed at Kiggundu.  

The DPP's records also show that Kiggundu before his murder had indicated that Mwanje was threatening to kill him and he was reportedly in constant communication with his co-accused whom he would delete call logs immediately after the conversations. The DPP says that Mwanje who was the head of Nakasero Mosque had threatened to kill Kiggundu and a faction of other Muslim clerics because they were against his leadership and management of the projects of the Mosque. 

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