Police say they have arrested the man who shot and killed Sheikh Masuud Mutumba of Bugiri District last week.
The suspect was reportedly arrested in Kampala by police flying squad team.
Mr Anatoli Katungwesi, the Busoga East Regional Police commander told journalists on Wednesday that the suspect was arrested following a tip off from other suspects who are already in police custody.
He said the suspect is a supervisor at SGA, a private security company in Kampala and is said to have used his position to get the gun he allegedly used to shoot the sheikh.
“We arrested him from Kampala but he is from Bugiri District,” Mr Katungwesi said.
However, police said by the time of his arrest, the suspect was not found with the killer gun.
“We didn’t find the killer gun but our officers are still on the ground and we shall get it,” Mr Katungwesi added.
He said the suspect had already confessed to killing Sheikh Mutumba.
“We believe he is going to get us the gun,” the police commander said.
Sheikh Mutumba, 63, was on February 15, 2020 gunned down at his home in Busimba Village, Iwemba Sub-county, Bugiri District.
Earlier in the day, he had led the Juma prayers at Masjid Noor in Iwemba, Bugiri.
Mr Ismail Mwondha, the son of the deceased, told Sunday Monitor that before his father was shot dead, he received a telephone call from an unidentified person inviting him outside the house for a chat.
“As he moved out to meet the person, he was shot twice in the head, killing him instantly,” Mr Mwondha said.
Other family members said they saw the gunman disappear into the night after shooting their breadwinner.
“The assailant first shot and missed and it was the second bullet that hit him in the head,” Mr Jeff Sebuyungo, the Bugiri District police commander, told Sunday Monitor.
Sheikh Mutumba lobbied for the construction of several mosques in Bugiri District.
Sheikh Maj. Mohammed Kiggundu, a former commander of the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) rebel group, who had denounced the ADF rebellion before being integrated into the UPDF and promoted to the rank of Major in December 2007, was killed in Masanafu, along with this bodyguard, Sgt Steven Mukasa as they were riding towards Kampala in a UPDF pick-up truck at around 7.30am.
The assailants who were riding on a motorcycle shot one of the tyres of the vehicle, which forced it to veer off the road into a drain, before shooting the victims at close range.
April 20, 2012
Sheikh Abdul Karim Sentamu, a prominent Muslim scholar, was gunned down on William Street in Kampala moments after he left a mosque on the same road.
June 22, 2012
Abubaker Kiweewa was shot dead at 9pm on within the premises of his Prime Supermarket in Kyanja, a city suburb.
December 25, 2014
Abdul Kadir Muwaya, the Shiite leader popularly known as Dakhtur, was gunned down on Christmas Day at his home in Mayuge District.
December 28, 2014
Sheikh Mustafa Bahiga was shot dead at Bwebajja Mosque on Entebbe Road as he went for Isha prayer.
March 30, 2015
Like the Muslim Sheikhs, unidentified assailants riding on a motorcycle gunned down the Assistant Director of Public Prosecutions, Joan Kagezi, in Kiwatule, where she had made a stopover to buy fruits. Kagezi, who was a prosecutor in the July 2010 Kampala twin bombing trial, was shot twice at close range at around 7pm while seated in her official car.
May 21, 2015
Sheikh Abdulrashid Wafula, the Imam of Bilal Mosque in Mbale Town, was gunned down at around 9pm at the gate of his home in Kireka Village, Nakaloke Town Council, Mbale District.
June 30, 2015
Sheikh Ibrahim Hassan Kirya was shot dead by unknown assailants on a motor cycle in Bweyogerere, Wakiso District. He was on his way home and had crossed the road to buy some passion fruits when he was killed. Sheikh Kirya had earlier informed police that he feared for his life after the killing of some of his colleagues.
Although most of the investigations into the killings have not yielded much, President Museveni has always linked the killings of the clerics and other high profile personalities like former police spokesperson Andrew Felix Kaweesi and Kagezi to the ADF.
In April 2015, the alleged leader of ADF, Mr Jamil Mukulu, was arrested by the authorities in Tanzania, who handed him over to Uganda, but the killings continued.
On June 29, 2016 during an iftar dinner he hosted for the Muslim Community at State House, Entebbe, Mr Museveni promised to crush the clerics’ killers.
“The attacks on the Muslim clerics will end because those behind them are known. Rebels in DR Congo who come here and kill people will not be accepted. We already have in jail one of the people behind those attacks,” Mr Museveni said.
While delivering the State of the Nation Address on June 6, 2018, Mr Museveni said “rural-based terrorism and banditry was totally defeated,” adding that urban terrorism in the form of kidnaps and murders of women would be defeated too. The killing of the Bugiri Sheikh will now be seen as a setback.
Efforts to contain killings
On the day Kaweesi was killed, the President issued a directive to the Ministry of Finance to work with the police to install closed circuit television (CCTV) security cameras in all towns. Last month, police spokesperson Fred Enanga announced that the Force had identified 2,319 spots in upcountry areas where the cameras would be be installed, but they are yet to be installed in most towns.
President Museveni also ordered then Inspector General of Police, Gen Kale Kayihura, to “clean up” the police, saying it had been infiltrated by criminals.
Police has carried out several arrests in connection with the killings of the sheikhs and other prominent personalities, but the Force has never been able to obtain a conviction. In some cases, such as that of Kaweesi, the trial has never actually taken off. Courts have in some cases been forced to grant suspects bail after spending very long periods in detention.