Long list of unsolved murders haunts police

Only less than 100 murders have been resolved of the 4,500 cases reported to police.

Police detectives at the scene where former Buyende District Police Commander Muhammad Kirumira was gunned down at Bulenga in Wakiso District last Saturday. PHOTO BY ALEX ESAGALA 

BY PAUL TAJUBA

IN SUMMARY

  • Cases. Only less than 100 murders have been resolved of the 4,500 cases reported to police.
  • With the installation of cameras in the city, revival of local council system recently hoped to help in community policing and training of police officers in intelligence gathering, Mr Kayima said criminals are living on borrowed time.

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Kampala. On Sunday September 9, grief-striken Hajj Abubakar Kawooya saw the remains of his son, the slain former Buyende District Police Commander Mohammad Kirumira, lowered in his final resting place in Mpambire, Mpigi District.
“You terrorists who killed my son you have really hurt us”, he said, with tears rolling down his eyes.

About 90 kilometres apart in Mpenja Sub-county, Gomba District, a similar mood of anguish hovered over mourners as they heaved crystals of earth into the grave of Resty Nalinya, a friend of the late Kirumira.
Kirumira, 34, and Nalinya, 26, were both shot dead in Bulenga Trading Centre in Wakiso District on Saturday evening, adding to a growing list of Ugandans, who have been shot dead by gunmen riding on motorcycles. Since the shooting on Saturday, police have not made any arrests yet.

The Saturday murders came exactly three months after a similar brutal elimination of then Arua Municipality Member of Parliament Ibrahim Abiriga and bodyguard Saidi Buga Kongo at Kawanda, Wakiso District. Even in this particular murder, no arrests have so far been made.
Last year, this paper quoting Police Deputy Director for Human Resource Department, Mr Felix Ndyomugyenyi, indicated that police have thousands unresolved homicide cases committed in the last four years.
Of the 4,500 cases, less than 100 murders have been resolved.

Police spokesperson Emilian Kayima last evening said many cases collapse at infancy due to how Ugandans respond to crimes.
“Often times, people trample unto the crime scene which jeopardises investigations,” Mr Kayima said.
Another reason why investigations fail, Mr Kayima said, is that Ugandans are reluctant to report criminals to authorities.

“They need to help police in case they identified those involved so that we can ably follow the leads in order to apprehend criminals and bring them to book,” he said.
He was, however, quick to add that police and other security organs have prevented several murders and it was unfair to say police have failed in their duty.

Mr Fred Egesa, a security expert, said police and other security organs have to go back to the basics if they are to have investigations that can lead to convictions in court.
“In most cases, these murder cases have collapsed right from start at the crime scene,” Mr Egesa said, adding: “Our scene of crime officers lack the training and experience. Do they know what to do when they go there? I see some carrying cameras there and they think they are securing the scene,”
The genesis for lack proper training, Mr Egesa said, was when police started promoting officers not on merit at the expense of experienced officers with good reputation.
“You find a young man who has just finished university is the regional CID but he has never headed even a division. In policing, the more cases you handle, the more you get experience. What is happening now is people are after titles,” Mr Egesa said.

 

Recommendation
He recommends that police should rebuild its image as a pro-people force to win the trust of Ugandans “because they have the information but who do they give it to”. In the same vein, Mr Egesa said police should fight corruption if investigations are to succeed and only promote officers on the basis of competence and experienced.
The unresolved murders, Sheikh Ali Waiswa, the Deputy Mufti of Uganda, said on Sunday during prayers for Kirumira, have left many Ugandans in fear.

“Muslims have been attacked from all angles. These high profile people who have reached the level of serving the country are the ones who are targeted,” Sheikh Waiswa said.
“The death threats have not stopped. With flyers around the town indicating the list of sheikhs to be killed. The question on every Muslims’ mind is who is next. We have been patiently waiting for the report of previous murders which has been taken as fun” he added.
But Kayima appealed for calm, insisting that a lot has been done to bring to book those who have murdered Ugandans.

Some of the cases, which police have arrested suspects include the death of Sheikh Maj Mohammed Kiggundu and bodyguard Sgt Steven Mukasa gunned in Masanafu, Kampala in November 2016.
There are eight suspects battling cases of terrorism and murder in the High Court.

Shortly after former police spokesperson Felix Kaweesi was gunned down, police made several arrests with many suspects appearing before court with broken limbs. After sorting the suspects, eight are currently battling charges of murder, terrorism and robbing Kaweesi’s gun and a pistol after his assassination.
Kaweesi was shot dead in Kulambiro alongside Kenneth Erau and Godfrey Wambewo on March 17, 2017.

Details of murders
In other murders such as that of Joan Kagezi gunned down in Kiwatule, Kampala, on March 30, 2015, no arrests have been made but President Museveni said recently that he knows the killers.
Mr Kayima promised to give details of all murders, detailing what the Force has done so far. He was attending a church service by the time we interviewed him.
With the installation of cameras in the city, revival of local council system recently hoped to help in community policing and training of police officers in intelligence gathering, Mr Kayima said criminals are living on borrowed time.

ptajuba@ug.nationmedia.com

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