Uganda: Police Probe Husband Over Nagirinya's Killing

13 September 2019

Police detectives investigating the killing of Maria Nagirinya have reportedly interviewed the widower, Mr Edgar Gateni, as they string together information to identify the mastermind and motive.

Family and police sources told this newspaper that interrogators spoke to Mr Gateni in the days following his wife's burial in Kibuye, a city outskirt.

Twenty-eight-year-old Nagirinya, at the time a manager with Community Integrated Development Initiative (CIDI), a not-for-profit organisation in Kampala, was abducted on August 28 and killed alongside Ronald Kitayimbwa, a driver she hired to drop her at home in Lungujja in Kampala.

Mr Patrick Onyango, the Kampala Metropolitan Police spokesperson, declined to comment on the detective's reported interface with Mr Gateni, whom we were unable to speak to.

Nagirinya's father, Mr Francis Lubowa, told this newspaper yesterday that several family members, including his son-in-law, had recorded statements with security personnel in relation to the double killing.

"Various agencies have had interactions with many of us. We have told them what we know because we want to get to the root [of] why my daughter was killed," he said.

"I would love to know why my girl was kidnapped, killed and who was behind it," he added.

A source familiar with the investigations, speaking on condition of anonymity to freely share information on the matter, said they took a "plain statement" from Mr Gateni and others, meaning no decision has at this point been taken on whether to classify him or family members as witnesses or not.

Detectives in their interactions reportedly inquired from the widower when he last communicated with his slain wife and whether they had cracks in their marriage.

Mr Gateni is said to have responded that they had a blissful marriage following their wedding in August last year.

According to a police source, detectives also asked him whether he suspected any reason why anyone would have killed Nagirinya.

Investigators, Mr Lubowa said, made repeat trips to speak to different members of his family between September 2 and Wednesday, this week.

Speaking at a requiem mass for Nagirinya held at St Peter's Church in Nsambya on September 1, Mr Gateni, who flew in from Dubai where he works, praised his wife for loving him unconditionally and whole-heartedly.

Eulogy

"I am asking, 'why me'? Why take my wife exactly one year after our marriage? The last two days [to Nagirinya's abduction], the communication was like she was saying 'goodbye'," Mr Gateni told mourners.

He added: "I had asked her that every night, don't move alone. All our dreams have been shattered. I am speaking to you (mourners) with a lot of pain. I pray that God gives you (Nagirinya) a peaceful rest."

Seven suspects have since been taken into custody, among them individuals detectives brand as "prime suspects", in raids involving police and operatives from the Chieftaincy of Military Intelligence (CMI), the investigative arm of the military.

The suspects included boda boda cyclists alleged to have transported the alleged assailants to Lungujja, a city suburb, where they pounced on Nagirinya and Kitayimbwa at the gate.

Their bodies would later be found on a piece of land off the Mukono-Kayunga highway, partially covered with dry grass.

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