Uganda: Clerics Murders – How the State Intends to Pin the Accused

Uganda: Clerics Murders - How the State Intends to Pin the Accused

The trial of the 14 suspects behind last year’s murder of Muslim clerics kicked off yesterday in the International Criminal division of High court. The suspects are accused of terrorism, murder and attempted murder to which all the accused pleaded not guilty. They are, among other things, accused of killing a string of sheikhs in Kampala and elsewhere in 2014 and 2015. The defence team includes MacDosman Kabega, Fred Muwema, Ladislaus Rwakafuuzi and Twaha Mayanja. So, this is how the state intends to pin them. According to the summary evidence presented before the High court at Nakawa, the murdered Muslim clerics and those threatened with murder were referred to as “snakes suitable for elimination” by their killers or tormentors. The suspects include Nakasero-based Amir, Sheikhs Mohammad Yunus Kamoga and Siraje Kawooya, referred to in the summary evidence as the ringleaders of the killings. The other accused persons are Sheikh Murta Mudde Bukenya, Sheikh Fahd Kalungi, Amir Kinene, Hakim Kinene Muswaswa, Yusuf Kakande alias Abdullah and Abdulsalaam Sekayanja alias Khasim Mulumba. Others are Abdulamid Sematimba Mubiru, Hamza Kasirye, Twaha Sekkito, Rashid Jingo, Musa Isa Mubiru and George William Iga.
THE CASE Prosecution will attempt to show that some of the accused persons shot and killed Sheikh Mustafah Bahiga at Bwebajja mosque where he had gone for Isha prayers with his three sons. According to prosecution, Bahiga’s dying declaration that, “Kamoga has killed me,” was quite telling. Prosecution avers that it is in possession of used bullets picked by police from the murder scene. Bahiga was a preacher and leader of the William Street mosque. The mosque was locked in fights, pitting one clique led by Kamoga, and another by Kawooya. Prosecution alleges that many of the accused recruited former combatants of the Allied Democratic Forces , using Nakasero and William Street mosques as sanctuaries. ADF is designated as a terrorist organization under the Anti-terrorism Act. SNAKES NAMED According to prosecution, the ‘murder clique’ referred to the victims as “snakes.”
“As the wrangles escalated, fliers were printed and circulated in the two mosques warning the Muslim faithful to shun and avoid the snakes. The first set of fliers had the names and photographs of three individuals, Sheikh Hassan Kirya, Najib Ssonko and Bahiga. These fliers were being distributed by Yusuf Kalanda, [Accused No. 17],” the summary evidence says.
Prosecution contends that shortly thereafter, a second set of fliers containing derogatory messages and hate speech against Ssonko, Bahiga and Umar Swadiq were printed and distributed under the watch and direction of Kawooya to other places. The state claims that this campaign was followed by radical preaching in mosques by Kamoga, inciting fellow Muslims to do something about “the snakes.” It is alleged that Kamoga was this time round distributing the flies together with Kawooya. Prosecution claims it has witnesses who will testify that at this stage, the accused persons started organizing meetings in several places like William street and Nakasero mosques, at the residence of Fahd Kalungi along Entebbe road and Kawooya’s home in Gayaza to find ways of eliminating “the snakes”. Evidence further shows that after the death of Bahiga, a third set of fliers was printed and distributed in the same mosques. The fliers this time omitted Bahiga’s name and instead replaced it with Prince Kassim Nakibinge. On…

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