Gen Katumba Shooting Suspects Committed to High Court

The Nakawa Chief Magistrates Court has committed to High Court eight suspects implicated in the attempted assassination of General Katumba Wamala to face trial on 30 charges.

The eight are: Yusuf Siraje Nyanzi, Hussein Sserubula, Muhammad Kagugube, Sirimani Kisambira, Abudullah Aziz Ramadhan, Dunka, Kamada Walusimbi, Habib Ramadhan Marjan and Huzaifah Wampa.

The suspects who are on remand at Luzira prison on Thursday afternoon appeared before the court presided over by Grade One Magistrate Ponsiano Odwori via zoom. The State Attorney Doreen Elima then presented an amended charge sheet introducing six new cases related to attempted murder and aggravated robbery at Cheap General Hardware in Nansana, increasing the number of charges against the accused from 24 to 30 charges.

Elima told the court that investigations into the matter are complete and she also tendered before the court a 17 paged document showing the summary of the case and the evidence the office of the Director of Public Prosecutions intends to rely on to pin the accused persons on the crimes against them.

But since the new charges were capital in nature, the Magistrate did not allow the accused persons to take plea on them saying that they will only do so before the High Court which has the jurisdiction to try them.

Odwori accordingly sent them back on remand until such a time when the High Court will hear their case.

The defense lawyer Geoffrey Turyamusiima had no objection to the committal but told journalists that when suspects are sent to the High Court for trial, they normally spend a lot of time on remand without their cases being fixed.

However, Turyamusiima was hopeful that since the High Court has started hearing criminal cases daily as opposed to sessions, his clients could be tried soon or else they will follow up the matter.

According to the amended charge sheet, the accused persons are facing charges related to terrorism, ten counts of murder, 12 counts of attempted murder, aggravated robbery, rendering services to a terrorist group, the Allied Democratic Forces, financing terrorism activities and belonging to a terrorist organization.

The suspects were first arraigned before the court on five charges including the attempted murder of General Katumba Wamala, his bodyguard Sergeant Khalid Kuboit and Boniface Mucunguzi.

The trio survived the shooting which claimed the lives of Brenda Nantongo, the daughter of General Katumba Wamala and his driver Sargent Haruna Kayondo which occurred on June 1, 2021 along Kisota road in Kisaasi, a Kampala city suburb.

But later in October 2021, the Director of Public Prosecutions Jane Frances Abodo instituted 18 other charges against all the accused persons with exception of Nyanzi and Sserubula. The charges included allegations that while at Cheap General Hardware Nansana, in Wakiso district on May 29, 2019, the suspects together with others still at large with malice aforethought, unlawfully caused the death of Jimmy Atukuru, Frank Anania, Abaho Frank Mutsinda and Amim Bugembe whom they shot dead.

According to the state, on the same date and place, the suspects also stole 385 million Shillings from Tedrin Nalule, the cashier of Cheap General Hardware and again murdered Burton Okoti on April 27, 2019, at City Shoppers Supermarket Kanyanya, Mpererwe, Kawempe division in Kampala district.

The prosecutors added that after shooting dead Okoti, the accused took off with 2.2 million Shillings from Precious Kayesu and another 4.5 million Shillings from Aisha Nakafeero and also attempted to murder Jalia Nantambi on the same date and venue.

The accused persons are also implicated in the murders at Denovo Bakery Kalerwe in Kawempe division, Kampala district on September 16th, 2017 where five people including two special police constables Hussein Mubiru and Moses Kalungi were shot dead before injuring Angello Nantongo, Everest Hakizza and Edward Ssenyonzi.

The office of the DPP also alleges that the accused persons stole 34.7 million Shillings from Nawal Nakatudde at Denovo Bakery before attempting to kill her.

That further between March 2015 and June 2021 while in various places in Kampala, Luweero, Kasese, and in various places in the Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), the accused persons and others still at large rendered financial support to Hussein Lubwama alias Master to the commission, preparation of acts of terrorism. Lubwama was shot dead as the police effected his arrest.

On the other hand, the summary of the evidence the DPP intends to use which our reporter has seen shows that during the search at the homes of the accused persons, police recovered several items linking them to the crime or the scene. These items include; two AK 47 guns, a pistol, ammunition, motorcycles, hoods, toy pistols, helmets, ropes, sim cards, mobile phone caps, knives, compact disks with Arabic language audio recordings, literature and other similar materials among others.

According to the DPP, the materials were submitted for transcription and translation to English language, examination and analysis revealed that all the materials recovered were either intelligence manuals or instructions on how to manufacture local improvised bombs (explosives).

The guns that were used in the crimes were examined and found to have been used in the murder of Major Muhammad Kiggundu and his bodyguard Sergeant Steven Mukasa in November 2016 and that the pistol recovered had been assigned to the late Corporal Erau Kenneth who was the bodyguard to the late Police Spokesperson Andrew Felix Kaweesi that had been stolen when the duo was gunned down together with Godfrey Mambewa on March 17th 2017.