11 November 2012

Uganda: How Police Foiled Plot to Murder City Businessman

As the entire nation was glued to celebrations to mark 50 years of Uganda's independence on October 9, four men were trailing a Kampala businessman with the aim of killing him and taking off with the Shs 80m he was carrying.

The businessman, whose identity is still under wraps by the Uganda police, had gone about his business during the day where he accumulated the Shs 80m. Unknown to him, the four suspects identified as Suleiman Kapeeka (a security guard with KPI security body), Sula Ndawula, Robert Ssettimba (both boda boda operators) and Geoffrey Turyahebwa (a taxi driver) had already hatched a plan to eliminate him.

According to their police statements, the four planned to trail him from St Martin primary school in Mulago and on to Hass fuel station, also in Mulago, where he usually refills his vehicle. The suspects stated that they were using a blue Toyota Noah, registration number UAQ 123U, to trail the businessman to a secluded place where they hoped to stop and demand money from him.

In the statements, they claim the plan was simply to demand the money from the businessman, but not kill him, although they were unable to explain why they had a gun in the car. According to the police, one of the plotters opted out of the plan for reasons yet to be established, but tipped off the police, who waited at the fuel station. Another police contingent followed the suspects from the primary school to the station.

Once the informer identified them, the suspects were arrested and a gun plus three rounds of ammunition belonging to KPI security group were recovered from the vehicle. Joseph Mujaasi of KPI, a company owned by city businessman Godfrey Kirumira, confirmed that one of the suspects, Kapeeka, was their employee and had skipped work for two days.

"We had reported him missing with a company gun, but after some days, he was arrested," Mujaasi said.

It is suspected that some employees of the businessman the suspects were tailing could have connived and leaked information that he had earned a substantial amount of money on the day. Two days after the arrest, the four suspects were arraigned in the Magistrate's Court on Mwanga II road, where they were charged with attempted murder. They were remanded to Luzira.

The incident comes at a time when the police are still grappling with mysterious deaths of businessmen in and around the city. In June, a businessman, Abdul Kiweewa was gunned down by unidentified men at his supermarket in Kyanja, in the outskirts of Kampala. The killers didn't take any money. Back in February, Wamala Sendeba was killed when thugs raided his home in Mutundwe. His house-help, only identified as Sadiq, was also killed.

However, that is only a tip of the spate of murders that have rocked Kampala this year. Although the police suspect that the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF), a rebel outfit believed to be based in DR Congo, is behind the murders.

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