Kampala twin bombing: Five acquitted of terrorism as nine face trial

Police fire brigade, Redcross and volunteers put out fire after a bomb explosion on Parliament Avenue in Kampala on November 16, 2021. PHOTO/DAVIDLUBOWA

What you need to know:

  • The State alleges that those behind the attacks had a sole intention of discrediting the government.

Court on Wednesday acquitted five of the fourteen people accused of terrorism in line with the deadly 2021 Kampala twin bombing claimed by the Islamic State group. 

International Crimes Division of the High Court Justice Richard Wejuli Wabwire acquitted Muniru Bogere, Bashir Jjuko Kiwanuka alias Fred, Mohammed Kisiitu, Hamuza Bakyayita and Huzaifa Ismail Matiwa.

“The evidence disclosed by the prosecution in respect of Bogere, Kiwanuka, Kisiitu, Bakyayita and Matiwa is not sufficient to sustain the charges against them and declines to confirm the charges. They are accordingly acquitted,” Justice Wabwire ruled.

Meanwhile the judge confirmed terrorism charges against nine others reasoning that evidence presented by prosecution during pre-trial hearing sufficiently substantiates the charges against them.

“It is ordered that the proceedings records and this decision be forwarded to the head of the International Crimes Division for the next steps,” Justice Wabwere held.

The nine accused include Yusuf Muwonge alias Ssemaganda, Ismail Kiyemba, Twaha Wambedde, Nadir Faisal Nsubuga, Jero Ishaq, Jamadah Kiryowa Afan, Hassan Ssebunya, Sadiq Musinguz and Ammar Bbumba alias Umar.

Late 2021, Uganda was gripped by a series of devastating bomb attacks prosecutors say were committed by unknown assailants. According to Ugandan prosecutors, the attacks appeared indiscriminate, which instilled fear and panic in the public.

The State alleges that those behind the attacks had a sole intention of discrediting the government.

It is further alleged that on October 25, 2021, a suicide bomber aboard a Swift Bus detonated an Improvised Explosive Device (IED), killing himself and injuring other passengers at Lungala within Mpigi District.

The deceased, Isaac Matovu alias Muzafaru also known as Musilamu, resided in a rented room belonging to fugitive key suspect Sharif Kiyemba in Lweza, Kajanjasi on Entebbe Highway.

The state alleges that upon arrest, some of the suspects were found in possession of an IED allegedly given to them by their co-accused. 

The evidence further reveals that Ismail Kiyemba admitted to making IEDs, including the one used by Muzafaru, and confirmed that Kiyemba had contracted him to create a bomb with greater capacity for future use.

“Upon arrest, Kiyemba admitted and confirmed that he often made IEDs- and among them was the one used by Muzafaru. He detonated the IED, killing him instantly and injuring other passengers aboard the Swift Bus. He further admitted that fugitive Kiyemba had contracted him to improvise a bomb for him with greater capacity than that he made for Matovu Isaac,” court records show.

Prosecution alleges that they have sufficient evidence like call data and phone records showing that all the accused persons were in constant communication with the three suicide bombers.

These include Muzafaru, Uthman Mansur who killed himself at CPS Kampala and Abudallah Wanjusi who blew up himself at the IPS building where scores of people were injured and several others killed on November 16, 2021.

The state indicates that they will use police reports indicating that survivors were treated for injuries caused by pieces of fragments plus postmortem reports indicating that the deceased died of explosive objects produced by the suspects.