Uganda: Security On the Spot Over Makerere Student Killing

The Deputy Inspector General of Police, Maj Gen Stephen Sabiiti Muzeeyi, yesterday abruptly cut short a meeting with commanders of Kampala Metropolitan police and ordered them to immediately find the killers of a third-year Veterinary Medicine student of Makerere University who died on Saturday.

Emmanuel Tegu was allegedly beaten by people inside the University at night on June 28. He died last Saturday at Mulago Hospital where he had been admitted.

His death has raised several contradictions. His relatives said he told them in hospital that he was beaten by security personnel while police say he was a victim of mob action inside the campus after he was suspected to be a thief.

In a meeting, a police source who preferred anonymity, said Gen Muzeeyi asked the officers to brief him on progress of the murder case, but they did not give him satisfactory explanation on why no suspect had been arrested yet the incident happened in a closed community.

"He was angry and ended the meeting abruptly. He ordered the commanders to return to the scene, investigate the case properly and arrest the suspects immediately," a source said.

The source said Gen Muzeeyi noted that the officers hadn't taken keen interest on when the incident happened and the scene of crime officers did not visit the place to gather traces of evidence left behind by the killers.

The source said the detectives didn't even bother to visit the victim at hospital to record his dying declarations.

"It was after the death that officers started looking for Closed-Circuit Television (CCTV) footage, but the area is not covered by any camera. Even the nearby bank too didn't have CCTV cameras, which has made it hard for them to get tangible evidence," the source said.

Kampala Metropolitan police spokesperson Patrick Onyango could not confirm Gen Muzeyi's meeting with Kampala police commanders, but said investigations into the murder had intensified.

In a press statement earlier, Mr Onyango denied the victim was beaten by police officers and LDUs for violating curfew rules.

"Makerere University is guarded by only police officers and private security guards, therefore, LDUs didn't beat anyone since they aren't deployed at that education institution," he said.

Family speaks out

However, the deceased's family insisted LDUs and police killed Tegu. The family insist Tegu was beaten up by LDUs and police within the university near Lumumba Hall at night for unclear reasons before he was dumped at Mulago hospital.

Tegu died on Saturday 4 at about 3am and was buried yesterday at Kolir Village in Bukedea District.

A staff member at Makerere said Tegu had been a pastor commonly known as 'papa' and was probably returning from night prayers at Mango Tree Revival Church behind St Francis Church Gardens at the main campus. The said place is usually thronged by Born-Agains for prayers, fellowships and overnight prayers.

"That is where he must have been coming from when the LDUs intercepted him at about 7:30pm while they were patrolling through the university. It is said they asked him for money which he didn't have and they battered him. We heard that they [security] officers dumped him on the peripherals of Mulago [hospital] after they realised he was unconscious," the source said.

Police denied the claims and Daily Monitor could not independently verify them either. The deceased's sister, Ms Racheal Tegu, said the family was still verifying the contradicting claims of mob action and police/LDU assault.

"Therec is information that security officers including police and LDUs assaulted him. We are also being told that a mob within the university beat him up. But we will establish the reality in the due course," Ms Tegu said by telephone.

She said the family learnt of Tegu's trouble two days after the incident.

She said her brother was not a resident in the university but she was told he had been at campus to see friends.

One woman, who identified herself as Irene Namuyaba at Lumumba Hall on Saturday, said Tegu was beaten by a mob but police did not do enough to save him.

Makerere University guild vice president Judith Nalukwago said police fired bullets outside Lumumba Hall on the fateful night.

"Some of his [Tegu] classmates told me that his mother said she talked to him before he died and the boy said it is the LDUs that beat him up. He was moving past curfew time," Ms Nalukwago said.

"I think it is the LDU beatings that led to his death. May be police came in to rescue him from the LDUs. The custodian of Lumumba Hall says he heard three bullets in the night," she added.

Mr Julius Katerega, the University guild president, said only international students are allowed within the university.

"They [police] are telling us that he was beaten by a mob. We know that that is practically impossible in the prevailing circumstances. I have been in the university at night and the only people you will see moving past curfew [time] are police and LDUs," Mr Katerega said.

"Most people were pushed out of the university apart from a few international students who are locked up in halls of residence in the night. ..," he added.

Mr Katerega vowed to pursue justice for Tegu.

Police react

Mr Onyango, in a statement, dismissed the allegations implicating security in Tegu's death.

"There is also fake news milling around that he was beaten by LDUs. No single LDU personnel is deployed at Makerere University. The security of the university is being managed by police and private security firms," he said.

"Police are investigating a homicide incident by a mob action at Makerere University Kampala. At around 11pm last Sunday, police received information from someone that there was a mob action taking place near Lumumba Hall.

Unfortunately, the victim has passed on today [Saturday] at 3am before he could record a statement to give us his last moments. We are yet to find out the reason why he was moving at night at that time, but a murder offence is being vigorously investigated," he added.

Mr Onyango said police learnt of the incident through a phone call from unidentified person who said a gathering was beating a suspected thief. He said police went to the scene and found unidentified person lying unconscious on the ground with injuries.

He denied that police dumped Tegu at Mulago hospital, claiming a police patrol vehicle arrived at the scene later and took him to the hospital.

Copiled by Andrew Bagala, Arthur Arnold Wadero & James Kabengwa

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