11 NUP supporters sent to high court over terrorism 

The suspects in the dock look on during court proceedings on April 19, 2024. PHOTO/ NOELINE NABUKENYA 

What you need to know:

  • The suspects are said to be members of a group called ‘Go slow, Bobi Wine ahead.’

The state says it has gathered enough evidence to pin 11 National Unity Platform (NUP) supporters who are accused of terrorism and making Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs).

Abdu Katumba, 25, Abudallah Katumba, 30, Muhamud Kalyango, Hamidu Ssekidde, 30 and Issa Makumbi, 39, who have been on remand since May 2023 were on April 19, 2024 committed to the International Crimes Division (ICD) of the High Court to stand trial following their arrest on allegations that the IEDs were to be used in their attempt to stage a riot intended to overthrow President Museveni’s government.

The other suspects include; Umar Magala, 39, Rashid Ssebagala, Sulaiman Male, 39, Wilber Kairugala, 26, Hamidu Muyodi, 29 and Salim Ssekabembe.
Their indictment was read by Ms Sarah Namusobya, the Nabweru Chief Magistrate after the state said investigations into the vase were complete.
The suspects are said to be members of a group called ‘Go slow, Bobi Wine ahead.’

The state says the suspects and others still at large had on May 8, 2023 organised riots intended to stage a coup and remove Mr Museveni who has been in power since 1986 when he shot his way to State House following a five-year guerrilla warfare.

“This was to help Mr Robert Kyagulanyi Ssentamu alias Bobi Wine to remove the current government and become the president of Uganda. This is contrary to section 7 (1) (a), 2(h) & (j) of the Anti-terrorism Act of 2002,” the indictment reads in part.

The state also argues that the suspects’ plan was for the purpose of influencing the government or intimidating the public for political and economic aims without due regard for the safety of the public.
Police investigators who are lined up on the list of state witnesses further revealed the group was formed in March 2023 and is led by a one Ali who lives overseas.

According to the state, some of the members of the group allegedly attended a paramilitary training in Mende Sub County in Wakiso District.
“The training was conducted from a farm belonging to Ms Josephine Kisakye and police visited the place and confirmed it,” the indictment reads further.
The suspects who were sent back on remand in Luzira prison are said to have bought IED making materials from Nakasero market in Kampala.
The materials included nails, empty bottles, two jerrycans with petrol, charcoal, welded nails, pieces of electric detonator and batteries, among others.

Police netted the suspects after reportedly retrieving the phone call data records and prepared a communication matrix for the renowned mobile lines for all the accused persons.
Photographs of all scenes of crime were also taken and the accused persons reportedly confessed to having participated in commission of the offenses in the police statements they recorded.

“They were subjected to medical examinations and it was established they were all found to be of sound mental status.”
Ms Shamim Malende, Kampala Woman Member of Parliament and lawyer of the accused persons, said prosecution evidence is fabricated.
“We are only waiting for the hearing date to be fixed by the ICD court and defend our clients because the said evidence is baseless,” Ms Malende said.

Another defence lawyer, Mr Elias Luyimbazi Nalukoola, said the case is tainted with political persecution but they expect the ICD to reject the state evidence.
“In the preliminaries, we can tell that there is nothing substantive that can culminate into sustenance of any conviction against our clients,” Mr Luyimbazi said after the court proceedings.