KAMPALA, UGANDA: The State Minister for Labour, Employment and Industrial Relations, Col (rtd) Charles Okello Engola was gunned down on Tuesday, May 2, by his bodyguard in Kampala.
Engola, 64, was shot in the leg and stomach at around 8 am by the guard identified as Pte Wilson Sabiti at his home in Kyanja, a Kampala suburb. The guard later turned the gun to kill himself at the adjacent salon in the area.
During the shooting spree, his Personal Assistant identified as Ronald Otim also sustained severe injuries and was rushed to Mulago Hospital for treatment.
According to reports from Kyanja, Minister Engola was on his way to attend a Cabinet sitting when he got shot, according to Minister of ICT and national guidance, Chris Baryomunsi.
The Kampala Metropolitan Police Deputy Spokesperson ASP Luke Owoyesigyire confirmed the incident and said that security personnel had cordoned off the crime scene as investigations into establishing the motive of the shooting kicked off promptly.
A photo from the crime scene shows Engola’s motionless body lying beside the minister’s official Land Cruiser vehicle. It appeared to be that the minister was about to board his official vehicle for work when his personal guard opened fire at him.
Police Spokesperson Fred Enanga in an update said the Inspector General of Police, Martin Okoth Ochola, and CID Director Tom Magambo Tuesday morning rushed to the deceased’s residence to oversee the investigation into the shocking and gruesome murder.
“He was shot at his residence in Kyanja by one of his bodyguards who allegedly fired several shots at close range. He fled from the scene up to the trading centre at Kyanja, Ring Road where he entered a salon and also shot himself dead,” Enanga told journalists on Tuesday morning in Kampala.
He added; “The investigation is currently in the early stages of review. We have dispatched crime scene experts, using advanced technology to determine what exactly was the cause of this tragic murder.”
However, the police spokesperson emphasised; “We don’t want to speculate on what could be the motivation of this murder; we just want to confirm his death.”
He said police at the scene are trying to “establish if there are any other bodyguards who were injured” in today’s shooting.
According to the Minister for Gender and Labour minister, Ms Betty Amongi who was one of the officials to storm the residence of her junior minister Col (Rtd) Engola, the shooter identified as Pte Sabiiti “was a new bodyguard.”
Amongi who said she last saw Sabiti yesterday (May 1) in Namutumba District where the national Labour Day celebrations were held yesterday, said he had just been deployed as the minister’s bodyguard just a month ago.
“He has been working as his bodyguard for a month. He came from Bombo and joined other security guards assigned to the minister from the Ministry of Gender ad Labour,” Ms Amongi told journalists in Kyanja on Tuesday morning refuting earlier reports by eyewitnesses that the bodyguard acted in protest on unpaid months of his salary.
“That very bodyguard was with him in Namutumba where we had Labour Day celebrations yesterday,” she added.
UPDF Speaks out
The Uganda Peoples’ Defence Forces (UPDF) spokesperson Brig Gen Felix Kulayigye confirmed the shooting and killing of Rtd Col Sam Engola and said a joint force of security personnel had been established to investigate the matter.
“We have come to learn of the unfortunate incident at Kyanja Ring Road which led to the demise of Hon Rtd Col Charles Okello Engola this morning,” said Defence Spokesperson, Brig Gen Felix Kulayigye.
“We shall inform the public of the details as we jointly investigate the matter,” he added.
Rtd Col Engola was the MP for Oyam North and previously served as Minister of State for Defence before his transfer to the Labour docket headed by Hon Betty Amongi.
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