The prime suspects in the killing of social worker Maria Nagirinya and her driver Ronald Kitayimbwa, a boda boda rider, are said to have allegedly confessed to the crime during interrogation, and shed light on the role each played in the alleged murder.
The police spokesperson, Mr Fred Enanga, last evening reaffirmed that they had arrested “all the conspirators” in the killing and promised that in due course, the public would be given details from investigations before the case is taken to the Directorate of Public Prosecutions (DPP) for prosecution.
Security sources close to investigations have told Daily Monitor that on Monday, September 9, a joint security team escorted at least five suspects to Nateete Kitaka Zone where the suspects rented a house. The security team had invited local authorities to witness the house search and perhaps identify the suspects as residents of the area.
During the process, detectives asked the prime suspects, who had already allegedly confessed to killing the duo, to explain their role in the crime.
However, instead of explaining their role in the crime, sources told Daily Monitor that the suspects instead started accusing each other of having been the mastermind of the kidnap before the murder.
Although police authorities have not officially released the names of the suspects in custody, the local authorities in Nateete, a Kampala suburb in Rubaga Division, yesterday identified at least five suspects, including Hamza Kateregga, alias Arsenal, who was captured on CCTV camera driving Nagirinya’s car [ a Spacio, UBA 570V] before she was killed.
Others are John Kisekka, also known as Manumanu, John Lubega, aka Baros, Hassan Kisekka, and Isaac Kisunsu.
Ivan Mutagubya, the man in charge of defence in Kitaka zone, yesterday said he was present when the five suspects were brought back to their rented house in Kitaka zone. He also disclosed that many items, including machetes (pangas) stained with blood and other unidentified objects, as well as electronics, were retrieved from the suspects’ house.
“Their arrest is a relief to us. Those people have led a secretive life. Although they [some] did not even stay here [Kitaka zone] where they rented a house, their place was a no- go- zone in the evening until dawn,” Mr Mutagubya said.
Mr Mutagubya and other residents, who declined to speak on record for fear that they might be targeted by the suspects, told Daily Monitor that during a parade on Monday, the five suspects pointed fingers at each other before they started re-counting the role each played in the killing.
Killed. On August 28, a group of hitmen grabbed Nagirinya, a former employee of Community Integrated Development Initiative and Kitayimbwa, from the former’s gate in Lungujja.
The police search started immediately and the following day, the deceased’s car was located in Kitooro zone in Nateete before they found the bodies on a secluded piece of land off Kayunga Road, some six kilometers from Mukono Town on August 30.
The hitmen are said to have been paid Shs130,000 each to kill Nagirinya and Kitayimbwa. By last evening, investigators, including detectives from Chieftaincy of Military Intelligence (CMI), had not found the person said to have hired the seven hitmen and the motive for the killing. Some of the suspects were apprehended from Mabiito discotheque in Nateete, Lubaga Division in Kampala on Sunday night.
Some of The suspects
Hamza Kateregga (Arsenal)
He has been a resident of Bulenga, Wakiso District, having rented there with an unidentified colleague in July. He allegedly told investigators that he was in charge of “transport department” because he knew how to drive. It is not clear whether “Arsenal” as his colleague kept referring to him owns a driving permit or not. His role was to drive Nagirinya’s car as his colleagues neutralised the victims in the backseat without noise.
In Bulenga, some of his neighbours feared to speak on record for fear of reprisals, yet others accepted to talk. The neighbours revealed that “Arsenal” would return home in the “awkward hours” and rarely talked to people.
However, he had told the source that he works at a fuel pump at Acacia Mall and that he worked at night.
The neighbour revealed that she had rented an apartment where “Arsenal” was also a tenant and that he had a roommate only identified as Hassan. Kateregga according to security sources, stayed with a friend, John Manumanu Kisekka and had another friend called Hassan Kisakka, very “mysterious and would not look straight into one’s eyes.”
“The day security personnel raided, Hassan was here but it seems like he had information. When he heard movements outside, he used the back door on our fence to escape and I think the police saw him, but didn’t know his face,” the neighbour said.
At Nateete in Kitaka zone, residents said he was once karaoke night singer before he became a porter and later a part-time rat poison vendor.
Mr Ivan Mutagubya, the village local defence boss, said: “He interacted with other youth here. I was surprised when his colleagues pinned him [in front of security and all of us] for killing the boda boda man [Kitayimbwa]. They said he was the one who killed Kitayimbwa.
His colleagues said he allegedly killed him using the kabadiya style (stranglehold, a grip around the neck of another person that can kill by asphyxiation if held for long enough with an arm folded in one’s neck).”
Mr Mutagubya also revealed that “Arsenal” and Manumanu had just been released from Luzira prison, with a one Baros over various charges in July.
He was allegedly an accomplice in the killing of the duo, according to security sources and local residents. His role in the kidnap and killing of the duo was to back up his colleagues. He was a boda boda rider, working at Kagodo stage but was expelled by colleagues over bad conduct. He had just been released from Ssentema prison in Wakiso District, where had been detained on accusations of snatching a woman’s handbag.
Isaac Kisunsu is alleged to have hit Nagirinya with a car jerk before she bled to death.
“When the suspects were brought here, they [other suspects] told security that Kisunsu was the one who finished off Nagirinya with a car jerk.” Mr Mutagubya said. “We know him [Kisunsu] here as a ruthless youth. Even among his group, he has been a hard young man,”
They said he hails from Rwamaggwa, Kooki.
According to local authorities, the suspects had rented “a dirty house” in Kitaka Zone owned by a man only identified as Amooti.
The local residents and security sources told Daily Monitor that all the suspects are said to be part of B 13, a ruthless criminal gang that has terrorised the areas of Kyengera, Bulenga, Nateete, Nalukolongo and other neighbouring areas.
CCTV centre was unmanned as Nagirinya was abducted
The Nateete Police Station Closed Circuit Television (CCTV) centre was unmanned on August 28 when Maria Nagirinya and her driver Ronald Kitayimbwa were abducted.
And now, three senior and seven junior police officers have been placed under investigations for criminal negligence.
Daily Monitor yesterday established that Nateete is supposed to have three personnel to man its CCTV system but they were all away on the fateful day.
In a statement on his social media outlets on Tuesday, President Museveni expressed displeasure on the behaviour of police officers on the day Nagirinya was abducted.
“The policemen in the camera centres were asleep, only waking up to retrieve pictures from the memory of the cameras. Rubbish. You are supposed to watch live and tell the patrol vehicles to act promptly,” Mr Museveni said.
“I have directed that all involved must be tried, sentenced, punished and dismissed from the police. Moreover, they should never work in any government department ever again,” Mr Museveni said.
Nateete covers most of the feeder roads in Rubaga, parts of Hoima, Masaka and Mityana Roads.
Records at the police station revealed that at 11.47pm, under reference SD01/20/08/2019, six hours after the Nagirinya incident, a senior officer attached to the Kampala Metropolitan Police (KMP) CCTV came and officially handed over the CCTV centre to Nateete Police Station.
“Police is still suffering with shortage of manpower. We have few staff to man these cameras. Those that were supposed to be working at Nateete went to Katwe, but after this (Nagirinya) incident, they have been returned to Nateete,” a police source at Naguru police headquarters revealed yesterday.
Police spokesperson Fred Enanga yesterday said police top management met to chart modalities on how to deal with the President’s concerns.
“These are executive orders and top management is meeting to find appropriate measures. Those who failed to carry out their duties are being investigated and a report should be out soon. Ten officers will be affected in total. Three are senior officers and seven are junior,” Mr Enanga said.
Asked about the absence of staff at Nateete, Mr Mohammad Byansi, the officer-in-charge of Nateete Police Station, said those were internal issues. He maintained that the cameras were working well.
During a requiem mass for Nagirinya at St Peter’s Church, Nsambya, her family questioned the credentials of the nation’s security agencies, criticising it for gross incompetence.
10 police officers arrested
Police Professional Standards Unit (PSU) have detained 10 police officers from the Nateete Police Station CCTV command centre on President Museveni’s order that they did not alert their colleagues when criminals were driving away with the car they robbed from Maria Nagirinya and her driver Ronald Kitayimbwa.
Police spokesperson Fred Enanga confirmed the arrest of the 10 officers.
“They have been arrested on criminal negligence offences,” Mr Enanga said yesterday.
In a Tuesday missive about the murder of Nagirinya and Kitayimbwa, President Museveni said he directed the trial, sentencing, punishing and dismissing from the police of all those who neglected their duties.
“On account of the cameras and other technical means, we are now able to know who did not do his work.
The policemen in the camera centres were asleep, only waking up to “retrieve” pictures from the memory of the cameras. Rubbish. You are not only supposed to retrieve pictures of what happened some hours ago. You are supposed to watch live and tell the patrol vehicles to act promptly,” President Museveni said.
Nagirinya and Kitayimbwa were kidnapped in Lungujja, Rubaga Division in Kampala City on the night of August 28. The victim’s car was found in Lubaga Division and the bodies of the duo were recovered in Mukono District.
Nagirinya’s parents had alleged that when they went to Nateete Police Station, they were not helped by officers at the CCTV camera command centre to track down the suspects, who had robbed the victim’s car.
However, police sources said the parents had not yet made a formal complaint to the police.
Mr Enanga added that a team had reached out to them to record their statements about their experience at the police.
President Museveni also said the police officer at Kibumbiro Police Post was unable to reach the 999 emergency system for several minutes to take action, something the President alluded to collusion or criminal negligence.
However, the 999 emergency line has had problems for more than two years as a result of system configurations.
Last week, the police director of ICT, Mr Felix Baryamisaki, said the customer calls to telecom companies are diverted to the 999 emergency system, causing delays and efforts to solve it through Uganda Communication Commission are still ongoing.
Last year, President Museveni ordered police to provide toll free numbers to residents.
Additional reporting by ANDREW BAGALA