Kirumira murder suspect kidnapped moments after acquittal

Hamza Mwebe at court earlier

Plain-clothed armed personnel kidnapped Hamza Mwebe, shortly after the High court acquitted him on Friday for the murder of former assistant superintendent of police Muhammad Kirumira and his female friend Resty Nalinya in September 2018.

While acquitting Mwebe who was jointly charged with Abubaker Kalungi, justice Margaret Mutonyi said there was no evidence pinning him since no one had testified against him for any wrongdoing.

She also noted that his phone was never tapped nor linked to Kalungi and to the late Badru Kateregga who is said to have pulled the trigger. The judge consequently ordered Mwebe’s release. However, Mwebe’s lawyer, Zefarania Zimbe, says that security operatives rearrested his client immediately after he stepped out of the gate of the High court criminal division premises in Kampala.

He explains that the operatives pulled over at the gate, grabbed Mwebe, and bundled him in a Toyota Hiace vehicle infamously known as the ‘drone’ and sped off to an unknown destination. According to Zimbe, one of the operatives told him that they would take him to the Kampala Central police station.

However, neither security nor Zimbe had confirmed Mwebe’s whereabouts by the time of filing this story. Away from Mwebe who was acquitted and re-arrested, court also ordered Abubaker Kalungi to defend himself because the evidence before the court could not be used to draw a conclusion about his innocence or guilt.

Evidence before court indicates that upon arrest, Kalungi was taken for a search at his mother’s premises for any evidence and that while there, it said his mother asked him why he was in handcuffs. He reportedly told her that he had been lured into crime by Mwebe and Badru Kateregga who was killed by security operatives.

Kalungi is said to have been hired by Mwebe and Kateregga to trail Kirumira. The prosecution alleges that on the day of the murder, Kalungi was the one who called Kateregga and Mwebe to come to where Kirumira and Nalinya were killed.

The prosecution presented evidence showing communication between a phone number said to belong to Kalungi and the other to Kateregga. It is said that the two talked often before the murder on the day of the incident at almost the same time the deceased people were killed.  

Justice Mutonyi adjourned the matter to February 22, 2023 when Kalungi shall appear before the court to defend himself. He is allowed to consult with his lawyer and also bring witnesses to support his case. 

Mwebe’s kidnap came just hours after President Yoweri Museveni cautioned security agents against being the accuser, judge and executioner, saying all the three arms of government must be allowed to independently execute their duties.

Source: The Observer

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