THE five key suspects arrested in connection with the murder of Maria Nagirinya and her driver, Ronald Kitayimbwa, were tracked down using closed-circuit television (CCTV) footage, phone call records, mobile money withdrawals, and eyewitness accounts.
The suspects, including Hamza Kateregga alias Arsenal, who allegedly drove the deceased’s car and was captured on CCTV camera in Kinawataka, John Lubega alias Baros, Isaac Kisunsu, Hassan Kisekka, and John Kiseka alias Manumanu have all confessed to having participated in the murder of the duo.
The five belong to the dreaded B13 criminal gang and some had just finished their prison sentences.
A security source privy to the investigations told Government-owned paper New Vision that following the discovery of Nagirinya and Kitayimbwa’s bodies dumped along Mukono-Kayunga road in Mukono district, a team of investigators from the Chieftaincy of Military Intelligence (CMI) and the Criminal Investigations Directorate (CID), under Grace Akullo, was set up.
The team analyzed witnesses’ statements and CCTV footage retrieved from the Police and homes in Lungujja. They also relied on the phone triangulation using the different phone towers to know which phones were in that particular area and at what time.
The source revealed that detectives mapped out the deceased’s phones and also those that were within their range right from their point of kidnap on August 28 and trailed the movement of the deceased’s car in which they were bundled in right from Lungujja to Kigagga zone, Nateete in Rubaga Division, where it is believed they were killed before their bodies were driven and dumped in Mukono.
The Police believe that it was from Nateete that Nagirinya met her death after Kisunsu reportedly hit her head using a car jerk.
One of the statements that were key in the investigation was that of Nagirinya’s relative who witnessed her kidnap on a fateful night. Shortly after she had received a call from her to open the gate, she witnessed one of the men bundling her into the back of the car.
She was able to describe the man’s features, including the clothes he was wearing. Detectives also relied on CCTV footage both from the Police and neighbours’ cameras in Lungujja and Nateete areas.
We learnt that key images that portrayed the actual suspects were not released to the media. Instead, Police decided to leak images of one of the suspects captured in the CCTV footage driving Nagirinya’s car.
Johnson Monday, the commissioner of Police in charge of homicide, confirmed that they had reviewed all the footage of the deceased from the point of abduction in Lungujja.
“We relied on our cameras, but also engaged the community around,” he said.
The first suspect to be arrested was a bodaboda rider, whose motorcycle reportedly trailed Nagirinya’s car. The Police initially believed he was the one carrying the murder suspects, but failed to get much from him after he denied this in his statements.
On September 3, CMI made a major breakthrough when they arrested Fortune Mugisha Ayebare, commonly known on social media as Fortune Lindah at Shell Kireka after trailing her from the city centre.
Ayebare was arrested after phone printout investigations revealed she was constantly in touch with one of the suspects. The arrest of Ayebare helped the detectives gather enough evidence from her phone records and conversation believed to have been with some of them.
We also learnt that the suspects used the deceased sim cards which they inserted in their telephone lines and withdrew money in Nateete further giving detectives key leads on where exactly they were staying.
The Police believe the duo obtained the deceased secret pins for the mobile money accounts after torturing them. They reportedly withdrew sh32,000 from Kitayimbwa’s mobile money account and sh270,000 from Nagirinya.
On Thursday, one of the suspects now in Police custody reportedly called Police and told them that Ayebare was a wrong suspect. It was also learnt that the suspect bragged that the Police would never arrest the right suspects.
The call was perhaps the last piece in the puzzle that detectives needed in sealing their case. A team was immediately deployed to Nateete and the physical tracking of the suspects started.
By Saturday, detectives had already mapped out the daily routine of the suspects and knew where they lived, which clubs they went to and who they were hanging out with.
A detailed plan of raiding the Mabiito discotheque in Nateete was laid out. On Saturday night, detectives raided the club and successfully arrested two of the three suspects.
On Monday, Police took the five suspects to Nateete Kitaka Zone where they rented a house and searched their home. They recovered a number of key evidence, including machetes and a SIMcard belonging to Kitayimbwa.
They also inspected an abandoned house in the area where Nagirinya was reportedly killed. By Friday, the identity of the person who allegedly hired the gang and paid them sh1.5m to kill Nagirinya was not yet known.