What you need to know:
- Probe. This newspaper’s investigations discounted the possibility that those killing the women could be doing so for purposes of harvesting body organs probably for medical use.
Kampala. The puzzle around the killing in macabre circumstances of at least 19 women around Entebbe and Nansana areas of Wakiso District still lingers three months since they were first reported in late May.
The latest information from the police, according to the Force’s spokesperson, Mr Asan Kasingye, is that 12 of the victims have been classified as cases of sexual assault, four cases of domestic violence, one was killed by two brothers in what the police have classified as a revenge killing, and the rest seemed to be ritual murders.
The two brothers who allegedly killed one of the women, Mr Kasingye said, “confessed to the crime” and were remanded to Kigo prison.
The problem is that even when the police have been busy, issuing numerous statements and making arrests, the killings have continued.
Sunday Monitor reached out to enquire from residents, local authorities and whoever would have information about the puzzle in Nansana Municipality and Katabi Town Council in Entebbe Municipality.
The picture that emerges is that it is likely that the murders in the two areas are not related. It also appears that the killer in Nansana could be one person, whereas the crime in Entebbe is likely to be perpetrated by a group of better organised criminals.
This newspaper’s investigations also discounted the possibility that those killing the women could be doing so for purposes of harvesting body organs probably for medical use.
This reporter talked to multiple people who saw the bodies of the victims in the different places and the witnesses confirmed that there were no holes on the bodies to suggest that any organs had been removed. In the only case in which the body had a hole on the chest, the police say the victim’s breast had been cut off in what has been classified as a ritual murder.
Dr Sylvester Onzivua, a consultant pathologist and head of forensic services at Mulago hospital’s department of Pathology, said harvesting body parts for medical purposes has to be done in a sterile setting managed by medical personnel so that the cells do not die. There is no evidence to suggest that such delicate operations were carried out on any of the victims.
Suspect in Nansana
Nansana Municipality, where the killings were first witnessed, had most of the victims strangled, while in Katabi, the bodies discovered depict the handiwork of a savage on the loose.
One of four of the crime scenes in Masitoowa in Nansana where the first woman was discovered wearing black leggings and yellow socks, had her body neatly placed in a sitting posture, propped against a banana plant near the shrine of a witchdoctor. The body was discovered by a boy who had gone to pick sugarcane from the withdoctor’s garden.
Another body, still fresh, was found abandoned on a veranda in Nansana West behind Masitoowa stage.
Three days later, two more bodies were discovered in a maize garden in Kirangira behind Masitoowa stage in Nansana Town Council. Ms Teddy Namakula, an elderly woman who first saw the bodies, believes the two bodies had been brought and carefully placed at the scenes.
Ms Namakula says there was no sign of struggle and the bodies had been placed between rows of maize and not a single one was broken.
Early this month, the police, acting on a tip-off, arrested Kaweesi, also known as Ibra, a known chicken dealer in Nansana West I. Though Kaweesi had reportedly avoided arrest by running away, he later returned to his rented house where he had left his children.
Unknown to him, the police had laid a trap and arrested him. Later that night, the police returned and arrested Phillip Tumuhimbise, a known shopkeeper in the area, after he was implicated by Kaweesi in the alleged crime.
Kaweesi allegedly accused Tumuhimbise of failure to alert him as the police pursued him.
Though the crime seems to have died down in Nansana area, the residents’ attention has shifted to Tumuhimbise, an amiable man with a young family.
Tumuhimbise’s landlord describes him as a well-behaved young man who never drinks or clubs and is convinced he is being framed by Kaweesi.
Achilles Bongi, Tumuhimbise’s young brother, says they’ve failed to trace him anywhere. He says when he went to Nansana to inquire of his whereabouts, he was chased away. Tumuhimbise’s relatives have even been to the police’s high security detention facility in Nalufenya, Jinja Town, but without any trace of him.
Kaweesi’s neighbours describe him as a braggart whose conversation never ends without extolling his sexual exploits.
The father of two boys was known for ferrying different women to his room on any given day.
Edward Kirigwajjo, Kaweesi’s landlord, says the earliest Kaweesi entered his house was 4am everyday and would return with a different woman each day.
Describing the girls as babes, Kaweesi was reputed for buying prostitutes, thus explaining why he often easily hooked up the young women.
One of Kaweesi’s neighbours quoted him as taking pride in never failing to come by money to buy the ladies.
But given his petty trade in local chicken, which many believed he could have stolen given their cheap prices, Kaweesi would have ordinarily found it difficult to sustain his lavish lifestyle. Perhaps this could explain why his neighbours suspected he could have a connection in killings of the women; perhaps to avoid paying them off.
But Kaweesi’s neighbours deny witnessing any fighting from his room. It also remains a mystery as to how Kaweesi would carry off his victims to the places they would be discovered by the police.
Though Kaweesi lived with his two sons, nothing is known about their mother or how they could have separated.
Kaweesi’s landlord says when Kaweesi came looking for a house, he never had a woman. Police have since returned Kaweesi to his house on three occasions for a search and only recovered clothes from the ceiling.
Kaweesi is also sometimes said to have acted the pastor. His neighbours cite an incident when he called the mother of two girls claiming the girls were demon-possessed. The mother sent the girls to Kaweesi to ‘pray’ for them, only for the neighbours to see them later emerge from his room crying.
Though Kaweesi stands accused of four killings, the others seem to be the handiwork of other criminals.
No clues on probe
Information into the progress, if any that the police have made into this puzzle, is very scanty. The autopsies on the victims’ bodies are done exclusively by the police surgeon, and we have not been able to access any of the reports.
Dr Onzivua says in such cases, post-mortem reports can be of great evidential value. Since the police say many of the women are first raped before they are killed, collecting vaginal swabs and testing them can help to tell whether the perpetrator is the same, and even his DNA, which may then be matched with the DNA of the suspects.
In the meantime, arrests continue to be made, the latest being of Mr Ivan Katongole, a businessman in Entebbe area. At least 20 people have been charged over the murders in Nansana and Entebbe thus far.
The victims in Entebbe area
The killings in Katabi Town Council are out of this world. The facial deformities inflicted, the pieces of wood pushed in the women’s private parts, different cuts on the body; all speak of the brutal deaths the women could have met at the hands of their assailants.
Unlike the Nansana bodies, those in Katabi Town Council were left naked. Though in some instances the scenes where the bodies were found were not the crime scenes. In Katabai, the bodies were also seemingly ferried and placed where they would be stumbled upon by either herdsmen or people seeking a place to ease themselves.
While a seeming breakthrough in the Nansana cases might have been achieved with the arrest of suspect Kaweesi, security will have to crack their heads to find the Katabi killers who seem to be acting in a group.
A visit to Katabi recently revealed that before the body of Aisha Nakasinde, a mother of three and a known cassava dealer, was discovered near the SFC training facility on August 17, a dark vehicle was seen driving towards the spot.
“It was about 8pm when that vehicle came. We wondered why the vehicle was headed there. This is only a footpath,” an elderly woman said. She says they later heard the occupants slamming the doors to the vehicle before driving back past her house.
The body was placed about 100 metres from the sentry; a thing the elderly lady described as curious. She dismisses the possibility that the lady could have been killed where her body was found, but just brought. The body was discovered by stray dogs which ate up part of her leg. It was also the stray dogs that attracted the villagers to the scene.
“Vehicles rarely go down that side, so we were not surprised when we stumbled on a body the next day. That body was brought by that vehicle. Here, it’s difficult to kill someone and the soldiers do not notice,” the elderly woman revealed.
The Katabi group seems smarter. They seem to lure their victims into vehicles and drive them away to places where they are killed. After the gruesome killings, the victims’ bodies are returned to places from where they were taken and dumped.
The bodies of the victims
For Aisha Nakasinde, she left her stall in Kavundira at about 3pm on Sunday, August 13, and was walking to Kasenyi Landing Site to buy cassava through the village paths when she disappeared. Her body was discovered three days later in Nkumba -Kavundira in Kasenyi zone near the SFC training centre in Katabi Town Council, the same area where she was last spotted.
Sarah Nakajju, a mother of five, went missing on Thursday, August 10, and her body was found two days later on Saturday, August 12, after a search in Bufulu in Katabi Town Council, the same area where she was last seen.
Her eyes had been gorged out, one breast cut off and sticks inserted into her mouth and private parts. Her husband, Godfrey Mayanja and John Bwanika, a local herbalist, were arrested.
Nakajju left home at about 10am to go and pick some local herbs for her seven-months-old child and was last seen at about 3pm but never reached home.
Alice Nakibirango, a friend of the late Nakajju, says it was the deceased’s children who alerted her about their missing mother. She, together with her husband, later reported the matter to police at Kasenyi Landing Site.
In all the instances, people who looked at the bodies say there was no blood at the scene where the bodies were discovered, though the nature of cuts made on the bodies and the insertions on the body presuppose there could have been lots of blood.
Unlike in Nansana where the victims seem to have been sex workers, in Katabi, one of the victims – Norah Wanyama, was a student, while at least two of the rest were housewives.
Wanyama had left her home to buy food at around 8pm on the night of July 19 when she met her fate. Her naked body, with sticks inserted into her private parts, was found dumped in the garden of a one Peninah Kabalu in Nkumba Central on July 20.
In the Katabi instances, the victims are first reported missing before their mutilated bodies are found abandoned. In some cases, the bodies are discovered already decomposing.
In Katabi Town Council, the bodies suggest the assailants had their time with victims as they get to push sticks up the victims’ private parts.
Additional reporting by Stephen Kafeero