KAMPALA, UGANDA: The joint security agencies investigating the rampant murders in greater Masaka have named 15 prime suspects after screening 68 arrested individuals.
At least 26 people have been killed using machetes, clubs and other blunt objects in Masaka city and Lwengo district since July 21.
While presenting the joint statement to journalists, Commissioner of Police Fred Enanga said six of the 15 suspects are connected to murders in Masaka city while nine others are connected to Lwengo killings.
Suspects who are connected to Masaka killings have been identified as Kawalya Yazid, Sserwadda Mike, Muwonge Jude, Kibedi Yowana, Nakakawa Sylvia and Jjemba Francis. Police says the group formed the first cell based in Kimanya-Kabonero division in Masaka city.
“These six suspects are linked to hacking and beating to death nine people in Masaka,” Enanga said. “They have confessed to committing the crime and also informed us that they are part of the wider criminal gang, but their cell was based in Kabonero division.”
The victims of the six prime suspects in Masaka city killings include’ Mukasa Idrisa who was a resident of Kikungwe, Mugerwa Francis alias Kizza who was a resident of Setala village, Kakooza Sulaiman who was a resident of Senya, Nampijja Muhangaza, 78, who was a resident of Kasali, Yeye Peter who was a resident of Bisanje village, Mulindwa Mad 44, who was a resident of Kiteredde and Nakato Maria, a resident of Kalagala.
So far, Uganda People’s Defence Forces-UPDF, Crime Intelligence and Crime Investigations Directorate-CID have joined hands to hunt for the killers.
Enanga identified the nine suspects in Lwengo district killings as Kibirango John Bosco alias Boy, Sewankabo Muhammad, Namata Justine, Sebunya Issa, Ngabirano Sebastiano, Kabayo Henry, Mutabazi Baptist, Kaganda Moses and Kayebula Joseph.
Security links the nine Lwengo suspects to the murder of Kabanda John and Kalya Vincent who were part of the first victims on July 21, 2021. Kabanda and Kalya were reportedly butchered by Kibirango John Bosco, Ssegawa Muzafaru and Ssewankambo Muhammad.
Security alleges that that on July 31st, the suspects killed Nkaka Joseph, 51, and Kaweesi Godfrey who were residents of Nakalete village. On August 2nd, they hacked Bwanika Joseph who was a resident of Kiseka village, and on August 4th, they hacked Ddumba Joseph Lutakome, while on August 12th, Lubega Aramanzani was also found hacked.
Other victims include Sowedi Kayemba who was killed on August 15th at Mpumudde village, Ibrahim Sebwaana who was killed on August 16th at Byangiri village, Galiwango Paul and Mande who were killed in Nasiti-Ndagwe village, Mbazira Richard who was hacked in Kyambogo village, Nantale Joyce who was hacked in Kasana parish, Bukenya Fred, Kilembwe Henry, 80 and Lusiina Vincent, 70 who were attacked by unknown assailants.
“There are three cells,” Enanga said. “One is based in Bukoto South in Lwengo and another in Kimanya Kabonera. There is a new cell that is still active. Our joint task team of operational officers and investigative teams continue to pursue the characteristics of these offenders.”
Fred Egesa, a security analyst says Masaka and Lwengo killings are an indication of a failed relationship between the community and police. Egesa argues that if there was a good public and security relationship, that group would be easy to neutralize because locals are always the first line of intelligence.
This is the third time greater Masaka districts are facing machete attacks. The last murders that happened in the end of 2018 and early 2019 left 13 people killed. But this wave has so far claimed lives of 26 people.
Egesa adds that security is struggling perhaps because people who handled the previous incidents were all transferred and didn’t leave any records that could be a starting point.