KAMPALA, UGANDA: President Museveni has demanded answers from police after one of the officers shot dead Uttam Bhandari, an Indian money lender in the latest incident involving gun violence in Kampala, the country’s capital.
Bhandari, the managing director of TFS Financial Services Ltd, was Friday shot and killed by PC Ivan Wabwire who rained on him bullets with an AK47 gun inside the institution’s office at Raja Chambers on Parliament Avenue.
According to CCTV video footage obtained by police, Wabwire, who is currently on the run, opened fire at his victim at around 1 pm on Friday, before he swiftly moved to the Central Police Station (CPS) and surrendered the killer gun.
Police further said 13 bullet cartridges were recovered from the gunfire scene by investigating detectives, adding that the runaway officer who was servicing two loans amounting to Shs2.1m at TFS Financial Services had medical conditions lasting over six years that required him not to be armed.
“Due to the suspect’s medical conditions, police management at CPS Kampala had decided about six years ago not to arm the suspect with a gun and they have been deploying him in beats that don’t require him to be armed. His current deployment was at the CCTV monitoring centre,” Patrick Onyango, the KMP Spokesperson said in a Saturday statement.
Onyango explained that due to limited accommodation, Wabwire was sharing a house with fellow police officer PC Steven Mulambo who has been detained at Kireka Police Station.
“On May 12, Wabwire’s housemate worked at night and didn’t return the gun to the armoury. Instead, he (Mulambo) went with it to their house and shortly, he got a call that his child was sick. He rushed to go and check on the child, leaving the gun behind,” police explained.
He says it is from this incident that PC Wabwire took that advantage, got the gun and misused it by shooting Bhandari on the fateful day.
However, President Museveni in a statement condemned the deadly shooting and said the action of the policeman is one of those mistakes that are “easily traceable”, and wondered why the police leadership “had not acted appropriately”, owing to Wabwire’s mental state.”
Mr Museveni also questioned “how an off-duty policeman accessed a gun” as he listed six questions the answers to which he believes “may help us to plug the gaps in the security system”.
Below is the President Museveni’s full statement:
❝ Ugandans and, especially the Bazzukulu,
Condolences on the death of one of our Indian People, Mr. Uttam Bhandari, killed by a Police Constable by the names of Wabwire Ivan. All these mistakes are easily traceable. In this case, for instance, some questions immediately come up:
- How did an off-duty Policeman access a gun?
- Did he walk away from his guard post without permission with a gun to commit crime?
- How are the guns stored in the Police?
- Is there no security at the site where the victim was?
- Why did that local security allow an armed person into the building who had no guard business there? Then, there is the question of the mental state of this Policeman.
- Did he have a history of mental instability? If he had, why hadn’t the Police leadership noticed and acted appropriately?
The answers to these questions may help us to plug the gaps in the security system.
Condolences to the family of Bhandari.
Yoweri K. Museveni
Meanwhile, the Deputy Inspector General of Police, Maj. Gen Geoffrey Tumusiime Katsigazi Friday evening met with a delegation from the Indian business community living in Uganda shortly after Bhandari’s fatal shooting and assured the community of security in the country despite the continuous “using of guns to solve problems”.
“The DIGP addressed the leaders of the Indian business community, emphasizing that the shooting should not be regarded as a case of organized or targeted crime, but rather as an isolated incident,” a statement by Police said.
The murder of Bhandari came barely two weeks after UPDF officer Pte Wilson Sabiiti who was the bodyguard of late Minister Rtd. Col Charles Engola shot dead his principal over reasons detectives are yet to formally reveal.
Last week on Saturday, May 06, a popular Ugandan vlogger Ibrahim Tusubira, alias Isma Olaxess or better known as Jajja Iculi was attacked and killed by assailants just as he entered his home gate in Kyanja, a Kampala suburb.
Iculi’s shooting happened a few meters away from the scene of crime where the late Minister Charles Engola was gunned down by his personal bodyguard.
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