Together, they cut the image of four innocent youths—only until they narrated how they planned and executed the bomb attacks that left 76 people dead in Kampala last month.
Paraded before journalists in Kampala yesterday by military intelligence officials, the suspects accused of masterminding the attacks in Kabalagala and Kyadondo Rugby Club, gave chilling narrations of how serving as al Shabaab conduits, they meted death and misery in Kampala.
al Shabaab factor
Their suspected coordinator, Mr Issa Ahmed Luyima, spoke of how he had joined the Somali terrorist outfit in 2009 and participated in fighting Ugandan-led peacekeepers in Mogadishu.
The 33-year-old Luyima, speaking with a straight face, revealed how he recruited his brother, Hassan Haruna Luyima, into the mission after two suicide bombers disagreed with him and went back to Kenya.
“I was forced to recruit my brother after two of the suicide bombers left because they said they were not getting enough information on the preparations of the attack,” he told journalists; his face betraying no emotion.
It is the younger Luyima who was tasked with the aborted attack on Makindye House and also helped a Somali suicide bomber blow himself up at the Ethiopian Restaurant in Kabalagala, a Kampala suburb.
But for the third suspect, Mr Edris Nsubuga, it was a battle of emotions as he broke down while narrating how he travelled with a Somali suicide bomber from Namasuba, a city suburb, to Kyadondo where they committed the grisly act.
The Bachelor of Commerce student at Makerere University described himself as an evil man who caused misery to Ugandans. “I am very sorry for the loss of life that happened because of my actions. I’m an evil man,” he said amid sobs.
Mr Nsubuga said he detonated the second bomb at exactly 11:15pm, using a phone a few seconds after the suicide bomber blew up himself. There were two bomb explosions at Kyadondo.
Asked about what punishment he thought he deserves, Mr Nsubuga said, “I want my life but let the law take its course,” as he wiped away tears. The narration indicates that the attackers rented a house in Namasuba where the planning, assembling and testing of the bombs was done for days before the attack.
The fourth suspect, Mr Mohamoud Mugisha, whose parents migrated from Rwanda, joined Al Shabaab in 2008 in Nairobi. His brief, he said involved looking for a house in which the terrorist cell would work.
His first choice, a house in Nakulabye, was rejected by his bosses in Kenya because there were soldiers living in the neighbourhood. The military intelligence boss, Brig. James Mugira, said they had dismantled the network of the terrorists.
“We spent sleepless nights and our efforts have yielded good results. We would like to warn anybody whether inside or outside Uganda not to dare to attack Ugandans,” he said.