lKampala. The body of Gorret Nansubuga, 19, was found dumped in a banana garden on June 7, just about 10 metres from her home; a one-room house she shared with her friend, Sylvia Kirabo. She was two months pregnant when she was killed.
Her body was discovered lying on the back with her legs spread open and a stick inserted into her vagina, shocking residents who looked on in disbelief at the abominable cruelty.
One of the neighbours who saw the body before police arrived and drove it away for a postmortem at Mulago hospital told Sunday Monitor that they had seen what looked like used condoms at the scene, creating fear that the lady might have been sexually molested before being killed.
Less than two weeks later, on Monday, June 19, another naked body of Faith Komugisha, alias Jamilah, 31, was found dumped in a garden behind her house near the former Ssese Gate Way Beach in Kitinda village, Katabi Town Council. Her face was bruised. Aso
Also read: 4 women stripped, killed in city suburb
A white T-shirt she donned had been pulled back over her head and her breasts exposed. Her white bra and red knickers with white stripes had been removed and put aside. A long stick; the size of a linear fluorescent tube bulb, was inserted into her vagina and caked blood lay between her legs.
So in less than two weeks, two women in Katabi Town Council, a burgeoning town bordering Entebbe Municipality, had been raped, brutally killed and sticks inserted into their private parts by unknown people.
Before June 7, when the first killing in Katabi Town Council was reported, four bodies of women, all in their 20s, suspected to have also been raped and strangled had, a week earlier, been discovered at Kibulooka and Masitoowa zones in Nansana Municipality, Wakiso District.
Nansana Municipality lies on the outskirts of Kampala city.
Such killings are rare in Katabi Town Council and the residents here and surrounding areas in Wakiso District say they are now living in fear following the deaths, including another unsolved death of a woman found lying in a kiosk.
Police say they are investigating the strikingly similar and savage rape and killings, which they have so far attributed to family wrangles but one which a detective at one of the crime scenes says could be the work of a “serial killer” or a “network of killers”.
“The investigations are still on but we have stepped up our patrols and we assure residents of security. When you follow the stories, it points to family wrangles,” Entebbe Division Police Commander Godfrey Ninsiima said in an interview.
Residents and friends of Nansubuga, who sold potato chips on the Kampala-Entebbe road just outside Nkumba University, speak in hushed tones about the events leading to her death citing fear of police detaining them for “questioning”.
Nansubuga is reported to have confided in her friends that some unidentified people had on three occasions attempted to attack her at her workplace.
She, however, did not report the incident to police or local authorities but she is reported to have requested her friends to escort her back home after work.
Police detectives will try to gather evidence on what exactly happened between Nansubuga’s workplace and her home which is less than 2kms away.
The officers will also probe why her failure to return to her house located off Kasenyi road, Abaita Ababiri in Katabi Town Council the night of June 6, did not immediately raise suspicion among her roommates.
Ms Kirabo and another woman only identified as Grace have since been detained at Entebbe Police as police conduct more “investigations.”
The police say they’re also interested in speaking to a Uganda Peoples Defence Forces (UPDF) soldier in relation to the cases.
Nansubuga was buried at Kiyindi Parish, Buikwe District.
Ms Komugisha, a metal scrap dealer, disappeared soon after she left her neighbour’s house where she had gone to watch television.
The two homes are only separated by a carpentry and metal workshop.
The neighbours say Ms Komugisha left shortly after midnight like she had previously done, and that was the last time they saw her alive.
Also read: Police stuck with bodies of three women
The single mother of two had left the four children in her care asleep in the house. It is not clear whether she was waylaid between her neighbours house and her home or her killers took her from home, but her house bears no sign of break-in neither did her children and neigbour’s hear anything suspicious that fateful night.
A friend of hers (names withheld on request) who last saw Ms Komugisha around 5pm, said in an interview that Ms Komugisha seemed not bothered by anything and that they had a “normal” conversation about their work and other things.
Neighbours, who requested not be named for fear of the police detaining them for questioning, say Ms Komugisha could have been killed by people she knew well. In case of an alarm, one man said, they could easily have been alerted and came to her rescue.
Ms Komugisha’s husband Godfrey Nsubuga, 42, a fisherman with whom they separated last year following a misunderstanding, is detained at Entebbe police to help with investigations.
The manner in which the six women met their death has a striking resemblance. The killer(s) take advantage of abandoned bushes and gardens to hide the bodies of their victims. The bodies of the Nansana victims were abandoned in a garden.
At the start of June, bodies of four women, all in their 20s, were recovered at Kibulooka and Masitoowa zones in Nansana Municipality, Wakiso District.
Two of the bodies were found stripped naked at Kibulooka on a Monday morning and two days later, two other bodies were discovered dumped in a garden at Masitoowa in Nansana Municipality, just on the outskirts of Kampala city.
Preliminary police investigations suggested the women could have been sexually abused before they were killed, Kampala Metropolitan Police Spokesman, Mr Emilian Kayima, said in an earlier interview in reference to the Nansana cases.
“There were signs that the deceased tried to fight for their life. All the bodies had no underwear and we suspect they were first raped before they were strangled,” Mr Kayima told Daily Monitor.
Of the four, only one of them, Juliet Nampijja, a resident of Namungona in Rubaga Division, Kampala was identified. The police did not identify the other three.
Five suspects, including a woman, were arrested as part of police’s investigations into the gruesome killings.
“The murder of those two young ladies was gruesome. Both were murdered at night by criminals still at large. Unfortunately, they killed them by strangulation and sexually abused them before killing them. What is worse is the fact that sharp sticks were pushed into their private parts either before or after their death. We condemn such criminal acts that are not only violent but also barbaric,” said Mr Kayima.
“The police recovered the bodies, and they have since been buried. These senseless murders continue to show up and girls have been a target. It happened in Nansana where we lost four girls; killed in a similar manner save for the fact that no sharp sticks were pushed into their private parts as was the Entebbe case. The police have intensified community policing programmes to give security tips and survival skills to people, especially young people,” he added.
Police usually swings into action whenever there’s any killing, especially one followed by public outcry and condemnation.
In some cases, arrests of suspects are made and promises are made to leave no stone unturned and averting future killings, but once the public outcry dies down, it is usually the end of the case until another killing.
For instance, between 2014 and 2015, the country was rocked with killings of mainly university students in a markedly similar fashion raped and or strangled to death.
The body of Penina Kobusingye, a Bio-chemistry student at Makerere University who had gone missing, was found in a bush in February 2014. It was reported she was raped and strangled. Ms Kobusingye was last seen on a date with a mysterious man.
A few days later, the body of Emily Akite, a second year student of Business Administration at Makerere University Business School (MUBS), was found in a swamp in Nalukolongo, a Kampala suburb. The 20-year-old was killed and her alleged killer, using the victim’s phone, tried in vain to extort money from the family and even threatened to kill another member of Akite’s family.
The body of Beatrice Mudondo, a Bachelor of Com student of Makerere University Business School, was found lying on the back with her knickers pulled down and skirt pulled up on May 15, 2015, at Kataza, Nakawa Division, along the railway line. It is suspected she was raped and later killed.
On April 29, 2015, police recovered the body of a 14-year-old Rehema Nassali dumped on Yusuf Lule Road in Kampala. She was a pupil at Buganda Road Primary school and was suspected to have been raped before she was killed by unknown assailants. Nassali used to vend bananas after classes on Yusuf Lule Road where she met her death.
In July 2015, the body of Desire Mirembe was found lying in a sugarcane plantation by children in Kibubu village, Lugazi. She had been raped and had her throat slit.
Mirembe was in her first year at Makerere University pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Speech and Language Therapy. Mathew Kirabo, a fourth year medical student, was charged with her rape and murder.
Previous serial murders
In 2006, Baker Walusimbi was arrested in a joint operation by the police and the Violent Crime Crack Unit (VCCU). He was charged with four counts of robbery and three counts of murder of Moreen Nabbaale, an S.6 student of Makerere College School; and Jacqueline Najjombwe and Maria Katasi, both residents of Najjanankumbi on Entebbe Road.
He admitted to his crimes under police interrogation, but when put on trial he recanted his admission to the crimes. Mr Walusimbi has been in prison since and his case has stalled because two of the assessors in the case have gone missing before giving their opinion on the case.
In July 28, 1998, court convicted serial killer Arinaitwe, a student of Makerere University, for the murder of an American woman, Cecilia Marie Goetz, in a Kampala hotel.
Arinaitwe had previously been convicted for aggravated robbery of a Kenyan, Johnson Odera Ouma, of $3,600 (about Shs5.8m) at a hotel in Entebbe.
Arinaitwe was also convicted and sentenced for attempting to murder then Buganda Road Court magistrate Jane Alividza, whom he grabbed by the neck and ripped her blouse during his trial.