Family of killer policeman insists their son is ‘mentally ill’

Mr Naku Sireka, the suspect’s uncle, who was reportedly crucial in his conscription into the Police Force, said his nephew’s poor health “was not news to the people in Buwalira”.

Killer policeman PC Ivan Wabwire arriving at Kampala CPS yesterday morning

BUSIA, UGANDA: The family of PC Ivan Wabwire, the policeman who shot and killed a money lender in Kampala last Friday, has insisted that their son is mentally sick and should not have been allowed to be in possession of a gun.

The statement from the family comes against the backdrop of an update by police spokesperson Fred Enanga who yesterday said Wabwire was found to be “normal and sound” after a medical examination by police surgeons.

According to Mr Kenneth Ojambo, Wabwire’s father, his son has since 2018 been receiving treatment for mental illness and his bosses at CPS in Kampala were all aware of his health status.

“He has been mentally sick since 2018 and his bosses were aware of his ill health and had referred him for treatment at Butabika Hospital where he has been receiving treatment,” Mr Ojambo told journalists at his home in Buwalira Village, Masinya Sub-county in Busia District on Monday evening.

With proof of a medical form from Butabika Hospital dated July 2021, Ojambo indicated that his son had defaulted on his medical treatment and was suffering from hallucinations. (Hallucinations are an experience involving the apparent perception of something not present, which manifests by hearing sounds or voices that nobody else hears, seeing things that are not there such as objects, shapes, people or lights, feeling, or smelling things that do not exist.)

Mr Ojambo further explained that Wabwire joined the police in 2015 “while in good health” but his ill health had started while (still) at the Police Training School in Kabalye, Masindi District.

“He joined the police while in good health, but after some time, we received information that he had gone missing in the forest for three days. He was later found alone in the forest after a three-day search and since then, his challenges of mental health started.”

PC Ivan Wabwire arriving at Kampala CPS on Monday morning

“A doctor at Butabika Hospital had advised the police that the suspect, who is now in police custody on charges relating to murder, was not fit to handle a gun and should not be deployed for six years,” he added.

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As a family, Mr Ojambo says they were “surprised” when information filtered through that Mr Wabwire had used a gun to commit murder, and raised questions, including from where he got the gun and why he was deployed.

Mr Naku Sireka, the suspect’s uncle, who was reportedly crucial in his conscription into the Police Force, said his nephew’s poor health “was not news to the people in Buwalira”.

“He had no house at home and last year, while at their home, he was sleeping in the bush. His wife divorced when she learnt of his mental health,” Mr Naku said.

Mr Godfrey Malisi, one of the family members, has asked the relatives of the deceased to forgive them for the crime committed by one of their own Ivan Wabwire.

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Enanga yesterday told journalists that upon interrogation, the suspect admitted to having murdered the victim, for allegedly cheating him over a sh2.1 loan he was servicing at the money lending institution.

“The charges against him, were sanctioned and he is set to appear at Buganda Road court for murder,” Mr Enanga said.

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