Panic after two bodies recovered near Kabarole mosque hours apart

Police officers cordon off the scene where the body of one Paul Bahizi Rutabagisha was recovered near Kabarole main mosque in Fort Portal City on November 26, 2022. PHOTO/ ALEX ASHABA

What you need to know:

  • Rutabagisha’s death is the third known murder case to be registered in Fort Portal City in less than a week; the first case having been that of Mountains of Moon University student, Sarah Ahaisibwe, 23, that was reported on Monday.
  • In all the three cases, police say they have the clues but not a single suspect has been arrested yet.

Residents of Mpanga village in Fort Portal City in Kabarole District, western Uganda were on Saturday morning thrown into panic after a second body of an unknown man was found lying in the premises of Kabarole main mosque barely a day after another body was recovered in the vicinity.
Going by the documents that were recovered at the scene, the body was hours later identified by police as that of Paul Bahizi Rutabagisha, aged about 50 and suspected to be working with Kagadi District Health Office.

“It's alleged that today (November 26, 2022) at about 0700hrs while Sheikh Tibenda Swaibu was at his home, he received a [phone] call from their security guard that there's a dead body of a man dumped in the premises of the mosque. After confirming the information, he informed police which came and visited the scene. It was found out (after recovering a Fuel receipt at the scene) that at 0021hrs, the deceased used a Total fuel card to withdraw fuel (cash) worth Shs 750,000 and thugs could have followed him to rob the cash,” said Rwenzori west region police spokesperson, Vincent Twesige.
The body was taken to Fort Portal Regional Referral Hospital mortuary for autopsy.

Rutabagisha’s body was found barely a day after another body of a yet to be identified man believed to be in his early 20s was recovered a few meters from the mosque at the road junction heading to St Charles Lwanga town church.
However, Rutabagisha’s death is the third known murder case to be registered in Fort Portal City in less than a week; the first case having been that of Mountains of Moon University student, Sarah Ahaisibwe, 23, that was reported on Monday.
Ahaisibwe had been working as an agent banker at her aunt’s shop identified as Kellen Kajubi.
According to the police, Ahaisibwe remained in Kajubi’s residential house in Rwegoma B2 cell, Rwengoma ward, Central Division, Fort Portal City for the past few days as she was away in Kampala. Twesige told journalists at the time that on Monday morning, Ahaisibwe’s workmate identified as Phionah Nyamata reached their workplace but she (Ahaisibwe) was nowhere to be seen yet she had the keys to the shop.

Nyamata waited for Ahaisibwe and made several calls to her mobile telephone number but it was off. She called their employer who told her to go home and check if Ahaisibwe was there. Nyamata went with a boda boda rider but they found the gate closed and decided to climb the fence. They found Ahaisibwe’s body lying lifeless in the master bedroom.
They immediately informed Kajubi who contacted the police that visited the scene and took the body to Fort Portal Regional Referral Hospital mortuary for postmortem. Twesige revealed that the body had scratch marks on the neck. Police suspect that the deceased could have been trailed from her work by the killers thinking that she had money. 

In all the three cases, police say they have the clues but not a single suspect has been arrested yet.
However, Fort Portal City Central Division mayor, Mr Richard Muhumuza, said he was concerned that no suspect had been arrested in all the three cases.
“The challenge we have now is that some thieves after being sentenced by court spend their few months in prison and come back to the community to start from where they had stopped after their arrest. What we need now is that the court should help us give such people harsher punishments,” he said.

He said most of the spots in the city where bodies are recovered don’t have security lights.
“The government needs to improve on the security situation, otherwise innocent people will continue dying. They always tell us they have enough security but we don’t see it on ground. Instead we have insecurity. It's like the police abandoned its work and joined politics instead,” said Mr Thomas Kakuru, one of the residents of Fort Portal City.

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