MASAKA. After sitting her promotional examinations at Kirimya Vocational and Secondary School in Masaka District on November 23, Zahara Nakafeero, 14, went missing.
The Senior Two student, now feared dead, is believed to be in the cruel hands of kidnappers who have since demanded a ransom of Shs5m to release her body.
Nakafeero is a daughter of Mr Kabugo Mugendawala, the Lwengo District councillor representing Ndagwe Sub-county.
Mr Mugendawala who is also the school director, said his daughter was to return home that evening and was last seen at Kirimya Trading Centre buying snacks. “She walked out of the school gate and the headteacher thought she was heading home. When she did not return home, I thought she was at her uncle’s place in Masaka Town until I received a call at around midnight demanding Shs11m as ransom for my daughter,” he said yesterday.
On November 24, Mr Mugendawala reported the matter to Masaka Central Police Station but the officers on duty asked for ‘facilitation’ (money) to track his missing daughter. This made it hard to trace the kidnappers.
He, however, said police agreed to investigate the case when he went back after the kidnappers called for the second time telling him that they would call to direct him where to drop the ransom.
“Since then, I got puzzled after waiting for their [kidnappers’] call in vain. All I had to do is put my trust in police operatives as I also look for the money until December 15 night when they contacted me, saying they had changed their plans. This time, they demanded for Shs5m to direct me where my daughter’s body is,” he said.
He added that the kidnappers said they killed the girl, accusing him of contacting police, which was not part of the deal. “It is now too late for us to help you. Get ready with only Shs5m and then we will direct you to the exact place where you will find your daughter’s body,” the kidnappers reportedly told Mr Mugendawala.
Maj Flavia Terimulungi, the UPDF Armoured Brigade spokesperson, told Daily Monitor yesterday that police and the army have joined hands to trace the perpetrators.
“As we do our best, let the public also feed us with necessary information that can help us arrest the kidnappers. They [public] should be extra cautious with the strangers in their community,” she said.
Similar incidents have been happening in Masaka area where victims have been released after relatives paid ransoms.
On November 20, a two-year-old girl, Favour Mulun gi Wanyana was kidnapped from her parents’ home in Lwamaggwa Trading Centre, Rakai District. Later her parents, Mike Ssewanyana and Sylvia Nabukenya were forced to pay Shs4.5m before she was dropped in Kalisizo Town, about 67km away.
Money was deposited on the on Mobile Money number 0701165601 under the names of Martin Kiwanuka. However, Rakai District Police Commander, Ben Nuwamanya, said the parents deposited the money before reporting to police.