The Untold story behind the Foiled assassination of Nantaba

Nantaba leaving Naggalama Police Station where she spent over two hours.

Security agencies, led by Police, yesterday shot dead one of the two men who, for hours, trailed state minister for information and communications technology Idah Nantaba Eriosi. Nantaba was driving from Kayunga to Kampala in the company of her bodyguard attached to the Special Forces Command (SFC) when the incident occurred.

Minister narrates ordeal

Nantaba said she first noticed the suspicious motorcycle carrying two men while in Kayunga, where she had stopped to talk to one of her constituents.

“I had stopped at the roundabout at Bukolooto in Kayunga town council when I saw the men on the motorcycle. They waved at us and proceeded to Ssezibwa route. After a while, they came back,”

She said in an interview at Naggalama Police Station. Visibly shaken, she added:

“When I returned to the vehicle, my bodyguard, pointing at the same people, said we were under surveillance. I started the engine and continued to Kampala and the same people again followed us. It was time to calculate our next move.”

She said when she stopped to buy fruits at Kikandwa roadside market on the Mukono-Kayunga road, she noticed that the cyclist was also slowing down.

“The man stopped near my vehicle and spoke to one of the traders. He was fully covered in black and from a distance, I could not make out his face. At this point, Tugume (bodyguard) moved towards him with a cocked pistol and later asked me to enter the vehicle and drive off,” she narrated.

However, Nantaba said they could not shake off the cyclists, who the moment she drove off, immediately gave chase again.

Drives to Police station

 “We then drove to Naggalama Police, where detectives swung into action and chased after them,” she said.

The Police Spokesman, Fred Enanga, said Nantaba, in her call for protection, reported that the men in all black attire that partially covered their faces were riding on a Suzuki silver grey motorcycle number UDL 822A. ‘999’ emergency rescue teams, led by Naggalama Police, were immediately deployed in pursuit of the gunmen and they intercepted them at Naggojje. Enanga said the two suspects, one of them, wearing a bulletproof jacket, declined to surrender to Police and took off, prompting Police to open fire.

“One was killed, while the other, who is suspected to have been holding the gun, is still on the run. Our trackers, including the Canine Unit, are still searching for him,” he said during a phone interview.

Enanga identified the suspect as Ronald Ssebulime, a resident of Nakabugo village in Busiro County, Wakiso district. Exhibits recovered include a cellphone. It is not yet clear why anyone would want to harm the 40-year-old legislator.

Relatively calm, Nantaba is known to be passionate about land rights, especially for her constituents in Kayunga. For this reason, she has clashed with several politicians, including colleagues in Cabinet Following the assassination of Arua Municipality MP Ibrahim Abiriga and several death threats to politicians, especially in the ruling National Resistance Movement (NRM), President Yoweri Museveni, in an address to Parliament, ordered that each MP’s security should be beefed up by sharp shooters and a bulletproof car.

Motorcycles murders

At least 16 high-profile officials have been gunned down by men on motorcycles and routinely the killers have managed to elude authorities. However, Police working with sister security agencies have investigated, arrested and arraigned several suspects in court in connection with the various murders. Those assassinated include Assistant Inspector General of Police Felix Kaweesi and former assistant Director of Public Prosecutions Joan Kagezii.

Others are former Buyende Police commander Mohammed Kirumira, who was gunned on September 8, 2018 as he approached his home in Bulenga on Mityana road and Maj. Mohammed Kiggundu, one of the former commanders of the Allied Democratic Forces rebels. Others are Sheikh Ibrahim Hassan Kirya, Darktur Muwaya, Abdul Rashid Wafula, Sheikh Mustafa Bahiga, Sheikh Abdu Karim Sentamu, Yunus Abu Bakr Mudungu, Muhammad Maganda, Abdu Jawali Sentunga and Hajj Abubaker Kiweewa, among others.

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Patrick Luwagga is the editorial director of cross-platform content for UGANDANZ. He works across the newsroom and with business partners to drive and develop ambitious editorial projects that include digital journalism, video, data research, polling, live events, and thought-leadership series that are supported by outside underwriting. As executive director, he is responsible for the creation of Political news section, prior to joining UGANDANZ, Patrick was the chief editor for the national weekly news magazine of Kasese Times. In that role, he covered several presidential elections, wrote and produced two television documentaries, and was a regular commentator on television and radio news programs. Patrick was born in Masaka and grew up in Kasese. He earned a bachelor’s degree in Journalism from Makerere University where he was a Knight Foundation journalism fellow.