Ibrahim Abiriga murder investigations hit a snag

There is no breakthrough in leads over the murder of former Arua Municipality MP Ibrahim Abiriga with fears that the case has collapsed. Although over 10 clues were followed and several suspects arrested, operatives are yet to have a clear lead to prosecute the case. It also emerged yesterday, that officers tasked with probing the murder were recalled last Wednesday for debriefing, an indicator that they are searching for fresh clues.

The UGANDANZ.COM has learnt that the Kampala Metropolitan Police (KMP) detectives who are probing the Abiriga murder case sought support from the Chieftaincy of Military Intelligence (CMI) and Internal Security Organisation (ISO). Abiriga was on June 8, last year, shot dead by assailants riding on a bodaboda as he returned to his home at Kawanda, Wakiso district.

His brother cum bodyguard, Sayid Kongo Buga, who at the time was his driver, was also killed during the same incident. In a recent interview, the then KMP spokesperson, Luke Owoyesigire, said the Police had obtained statements from a number of people, including witnesses to the murder. Preliminary Police investigations indicate that the legislator was not armed during the attack.

“No gun was found in his car,” Owoyesigire said.

According to Owoyesigire, Abiriga’s brother (Buga) was a serving soldier, who was on pass leave and had just returned from Somalia, where he was serving under the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM). The AMISOM soldiers, according to him, leave their guns at their stations. Police investigations established that the MP had asked his official bodyguard (name withheld), who was a Police officer, to return to his unit for redeployment.

Investigations

It emerged yesterday that the investigating officers had several leads but have since hit a snag. Security sources said the clues included a phone that was recovered at the scene of crime. Preliminary findings indicate that CMI picked up a suspect, who is still being held in custody to date, pending inquiries.

The  motorcycle lead

Findings indicate that a total of 10 suspects were picked up and interrogated.  Of the suspects, six had previously owned the motorcycle (changed ownership), while the four were riders. It emerged yesterday that all suspects hailed from Fort Portal district and have since been granted Police bond.

During investigations, detectives zeroed in on a restaurant where Abiriga’s killers allegedly had lunch before the murder. However, findings indicate that the owners of the restaurant denied ever serving food to the assailants.

The other leads include anonymous letters sent to the slain legislator and two people who claimed to have witnessed the murder. On January 7, it was reported that one of the witnesses, Jowesi Kuteesa, 31, was set free after Nabweru Court Chief Magistrate, Rebecca Nasambu, on January 4 dismissed the case against her.

Nasambu dismissed the case following the fact that neither the complainant nor witnesses appeared before court in the past four months the accused had been on remand. Experts, according to detectives, also analyzed details about the killers, alleged capture on closed-circuit television (CCTV) cameras. The assassination of Abiriga rubbed fellow legislators the wrong way and they allegedly attacked Government on social media.

Investigators said Betty Nambooze (Mukono Municipality) made utterances on social media that incited violence. Nambooze is being charged with incitement to commit an offense under Section 21 (1) of the Penal Code Act.