Abiriga murder suspect freed, narrates ordeal

MP Ibrahim Abiriga's car bearing bullet scars

A 31-year-old man who has been battling charges of false information regarding the death of Col. Ibrahim Abiriga, has been set free after the Nabweru Court Chief Magistrate dismissed the case on Friday.

Off the hook

Hardly had Jowesi Kuteesa finished his bond request than Rebecca Nasambu, the Chief Magistrate, announced that court has dismissed the matter of false information and, therefore, holds no case against him. On his knees in the dock, with a small new Gideons Bible in his right hand, Kuteesa endlessly chanted praise songs to God and applauded court for being just and fair as tears of joy streamed down his face.

Nasambu dismissed the matter following the fact that neither the complainant nor witnesses appeared before court in the past four months the accused has been on remand. Abiriga was shot dead on June 8 last year at Matugga near his home. However, his killers are still at large.

The ordeal

Kuteesa to UGANDANZ that he was arrested in June by about four armed security persons, who were dressed as civilians and travelling in a Pajero car.

He said a few days after the assassination of Abiriga, he received an unknown phone call from a stranger, who informed him about the death of the legislator. Barely a day after the mysterious phone call, he got another call from a person who claimed asking for directions to the beauty salon where he worked.

Kuteesa said when he reached the salon at around 8:00pm, he found a gentleman waiting for them. The man, who did not identify himself, then forced him into a Pajero vehicle that was parked across the road. As soon as Kuteesa was thrown into the car, he was accused of being part of a gang that had been killing people in Masaka and neighbouring areas.

The men then told him that they had tracked his phone and discovered that he was a member of the gang that killed Abiriga. On denying the accusations, he received a beating:

“One of the four men told me I was under arrest because I was a member of a terror group that killed Abiriga. I said I did not belong to any terrorist group and did not know Abiriga. They started slapping me, but I did not fight back.’’

He said he was asked to frame Nsiyaletta, one of the tycoons in Lyatonde town, regarding the murder “I was told to say that the tycoon was the ringleader of a murder group that assassinated Abiriga,” he recalled.

After he declined, the car raced off to Kampala, where Kuteesa was locked up in a room alone. The following day, he said he was taken to Central Police Station (CPS), where he remained under custody, though no charges were pressed against him.

He says he did not record a statement. Kuteesa spent two weeks at CPS, before being taken to Old Kampala Police Station on claims that he knew about the murder of Abiriga. A month later, he was taken to Kawempe Police Station, where he was charged with giving false information and remanded to Kasangati prison for four-and-a-half months.