24 March 2017

Uganda: Kaweesi Murder Probe - Investigators Frustrated

Photo: Daily Monitor
The late Andrew Kaweesi (file photo).

The multi-agency investigation into the murder of Andrew Felix Kaweesi is still grappling with one major question - the motive of the yet-to-be-identified killers.

Investigators have so far arrested several suspects and identified the killer gun as an M4 rifle, as the hunt for Kaweesi's killers intensifies. On Tuesday morning, hours before Kaweesi, the former police spokesman, was buried, security chiefs held a crisis meeting at Kampala Serena hotel to figure out a way forward.

The meeting was reportedly attended by Lt Gen (retired) Henry Tumukunde, the minister for Security, Gen Kale Kayihura, the inspector general of police; Gen David Muhoozi, the chief of defence forces (CDF); Col Abel Kanduho, the Chief of Military Intelligence, and Col Bagyenda Kaka, the Internal Security Organisation boss.

Knowledgeable sources told The Observer on Wednesday that the biggest hindrance to the investigation headed by Grace Akullo, the director of the Criminal Investigations Directorate (CID), remains the lack of reliable intelligence and surveillance information.

While several people have been arrested, our sources said, the information that led to the arrests is still circumstantial, and not very helpful. The sources further one of the suspects, nabbed as he reportedly tried to cross into DR Congo, is no stranger to police custody. The suspect is said to be a criminal-turned-police-informer.

According to these sources, whenever incidents like Kaweesi's murder occur, some people are arrested "automatically" because they were once part of a criminal network in the city. It is assumed that such people could have clues about the killers, who are usually former accomplices.

In the same vein, the raid on a house in Najjeera on Monday was prompted by a tip-off that it was being used as a training ground for criminals. However, not much was discovered in the search although its occupants, including children, were detained.

INVESTIGATION THEORIES

One of the theories the investigators are trying to explore is whether Kaweesi's murder was an inside job. There have been reports that Kaweesi was investigating a fraud-related case involving his senior colleagues but our sources said this was not true.

They, however, pointed out that Kaweesi had misunderstandings with one or two senior police officers, disagreements underpinned by personal egos and a battle to succeed Kayihura as inspector general of police. At 43 years, Kaweesi had meteorically risen in rank and responsibility, which some of his colleagues failed to come to terms with.

Our sources indicated that on some occasions, colleagues accused Kaweesi of interfering with their work. The inside job theory appears to have gained credence given the nature of weapons used to execute the mission.

According our sources, after examining the cartridges at the scene, investigators have concluded that the guns used to kill Kaweesi were of the M4 type, which are a preserve of specialized security units such as police counter-terrorism and Special Forces Command. The gun has a maximum range of 3,600 meters and a range for a point target of 500m.

We have been told that an M4 gun can easily be moved in a bag because its parts can be swiftly dismantled and reassembled. According to our sources, officers who use these guns usually undertake specialized training in Israel, Cuba and South Korea.

However, we have also been told that some criminal gangs, with the help of people in security circles, could have access to these specialized guns. The investigation will also seek to establish whether Kaweesi's gruesome killing could be related to the murder of Muslim clerics.

President Museveni and Kayihura have constantly blamed these deaths on elements within the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF), a rebel group whose leader Jamil Mukulu is in detention. Yet so far, there is no evidence linking ADF elements to the murders of Muslim clerics, let alone Kaweesi.

Assan Kasingye, the incoming police spokesman, said he could not comment on the status of the investigation.

"I am still preparing my handover report; so, I have not got any information [about the investigation]," Kasingye said.

CLASH OVER SUSPECTS

Meanwhile, other sources told us this week that Jonathan Baroza, the personal assistant to Gen Kayihura, clashed with Fred Yiga, the chief political commissar, over the arrest of three people who were reportedly picking soil at the scene of crime.

According to these sources, after Yiga ordered the arrest of these individuals, they claimed that Baroza had sent them for the soil. Indeed upon learning of their arrest, Baroza reportedly asked Yiga to release them. Yiga is said to have initially declined to release the suspects until Kayihura intervened.

Meanwhile, we have been told that a proposal has been mooted to give senior police officers at the rank of Assistant Inspector General of Police, bullet-proof vests. Depending on the quality and brand, a bulletproof vest costs between $250 (Shs 875,000) to $2,000 (Shs 7 million).

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