24 November 2017

Uganda: You Are ADF Rebels, State Charges Kaweesi Suspects

Three suspects accused of murdering former police spokesperson Andrew Felix Kaweesi were yesterday slapped with fresh charges of being members of the rebel Allied Democratic Forces -- a designated terrorist organisation.

Ali Mugoya alias Byantuyo Abdu Magid, Sinani Hibwagi Dhikusooka Faisal alias Farouk and Abdullah Kaala alias Tiger were charged before Nakawa grade one magistrate Noah Sajjabbi for a crime they allegedly committed about 11 years ago.

In the charge sheet personally signed by Director for Public Prosecutions Mike Chibita, it's stated that that Mugoya, Dhikusooka , Tigasitwa, Kaala and others still at large between 2006 and 2007 at various places in Uganda and Democratic Republic of Congo belonged or professed to belong to the ADF terrorist organisation.

With public prosecutors under his office currently on a month-long sit-down strike, Chibita has increasingly found himself, uncharacteristically, directly involved in sanctioning court papers.

Last week, the Judiciary announced that it was suspending hearing of criminal matters until further notice after conceding that it has become unsustainable, costly and futile to keep transporting suspects to court yet the state's lawyers are staying away. Belonging, or professing to belong, to a terrorist organisation is contrary to Section 11(1)a and 11(3) of the Anti-Terrorism Act.

Byantuyo, Hibwagi together with their co-accused in the murder of Kaweesi, Swalleh Buyondo and Sauda Ayub were granted bail by Sajjabbi. But Mugoya and Hibwagi's happiness was short-lived as the DPP almost immediately slapped fresh charges.

Asuman Mugoya and Kaala's bail applications were rejected by Sajjabbi on grounds that they never presented substantial sureties.

On Wednesday, four of the Kaweesi murder suspects (Ahmada Shaban Ssenfuka, Umar Maganda, Abdul Majid Ojerere and Ibrahim Kisa) obtained an order for a writ of habeas corpus from Justice Stephen Musota, head of the civil division of the High Court.

Musota directed the government to produce the four suspects in court on November 30. They have been held incommunicado ever since being violently re-arrested upon being granted bail by Sajjabbi on November 7.

Musota's orders were addressed to the Attorney General, the commandants of Special Investigations Unit in Kireka and Nalufenya police station.

Kaweesi, his bodyguard and driver died in a hail of gunfire on March 17 in a shocking early morning attack by assassins as he left his home in Kulambiro outside Kampala. The gunmen made off with his pistol and the escort's gun.

Scores have since been detained in connection with the killing many of whom have appeared in court with torture wounds they claimed were inflicted on them by security officers while in custody.

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