Three key suspects in the assassination attempt on General Katumba Wamala, the former Chief of Defence Forces and Minister of Works and Transport, have been arrested and another colleague of theirs shot dead, police say.
On June 1, gunmen riding on two motorcycles opened fire at Gen Katumba Wamala’s UPDF Land cruiser along Kisota, Kulambiro Road, Nakawa Division in Kampala District leading which killed his daughter Brenda Nantongo and driver, Haruna Kayondo, leaving the general with injuries.
While addressing reporters on Thursday, Deputy Inspector General of Police (IGP), Maj Gen Paul Lokech, revealed that security has made a breakthrough in their hunt for the culprits.
He said the major breakthrough was as a result of the many leads, that were actively pursued by security leading to the arrest of Muhammad Kagugube alias Bafumoya) on June 26.
“Upon interrogation, he (Kagugube) admitted to having participated in the violent attack, when he carried out surveillance on the movement of General Katumba Wamala from his home. He immediately alerted the assault team, as soon as he spotted him and the direction he was taking. After alerting the assault team, he went up to Bukoto near Oryx Petrol Station, where he waited for the two guns, but received only one and rode away with it,” explained Lokech.
“The suspect provided details, which led to the arrest of Walusimbi Kamada alias Mudinka alias Ogema, one of the riders who transported the shooters. Upon his arrest, he led the team, in reconstructing the scene and clearly demonstrated how the double murder and attempted assassination took place. And how he transported his shooter called Kanaabe, through Kisota-Kisaasi-Bukoto up to Sebagala road, where he handed over the motorcycle to the shooter, Kanaabe,” he adds.
Lokech explains that a thorough search would then be conducted at all his known premises and valuable exhibits of a black helmet, 10 jackets, and one of the motorcycles used in the planning, preparation and execution of the plot recovered.
“The suspect was taken through the footages of surveillance and execution, and positively identified himself while riding one of the shooters, Kanaabe,” he says.
The task team, he says, proceeded to Kawanda village and arrested Kisambira Siriman alias Mukwasi who is said to have received one of the killer weapons, from Lutwama Hussein alias Master, which he also later handed over to another member of the terror cell known as Mustafa Kawawa Ramadan alias Amin alias Musa.
According to Lokech, security also recovered from him a motorcycle, under registration number UEJ283L which was used in the plot.
“The team followed up and arrested Mustafa Kawawa Ramadhan alias Amin alias Musa, from his home in Maganjo “B” LC1, Seruwumba Sub-zone, Maganjo Parish, Nabweru Division,” explained the Deputy IGP.
“Upon search at his home, various exhibits, including materials used in making improvised explosive devices were recovered, as well as Al-Qaeda training manuals on how to make and detonate bombs, military materials, secret communication codes, and several Western Union transfer receipts from foreign services. Also recovered are two T-shits used during the surveillance of General Katumba,” he added.
The task team investigating this assassination attempt would then track down and arrest Lubwama Hussein alias Kinene Christopher alias Master, a resident of Kabulengwa Kyebando in Nansana Municipality who was arrested along Nansana Nabweru road.
“The suspect who was the team leader and head of the domestic terror cell, put up very stiff resistance to the extent of grabbing a gun from an officer, but was subdued by the task team. He later succumbed to the injuries,” reveals Gen Lokech.
Lutwama is said to have been the mastermind behind the plot and the one who commanded all the other suspects before, during and after execution of the planned assassination.
“He provided all logistics of guns, motorbikes, mobile phones and facilitation used in the surveillance and execution,” says Lokech.
Lokech said security has now established that the overall coordinator of the domestic terror cells is Sheikh Abudin Hubaida Taheel Bukenya, an ex-ADF combatant who was given Amnesty and that he is reactivating the domestic terror cells as well as recruiting assailants such as Muhammad Kagugube alias Bafumoya and Lubwama Hussein alias Kinene Christopher alias Mater.
Bukenya, according to Gen Lokech, has now violated his amnesty.
Findings by security indicate that the group is responsible for the robberies witnessed in the Kampala Metropolitan area including those of Nansana Cheap Store, Ntake Robbery and the murder and robbery on the Supermarket at Mpererwe.
Gen Lokech noted that, “their linkage to the earlier suspects, charged in court is that the killer gun is linked to the murder of the late AIGP Andrew Felix Kawesi and Major Kiggundu.”
He confirmed that this is a straight forward case of political violence and domestic terrorism further revealing that the suspects are part of the team that trained in the North Kivu ADF camp and had started reactivating the domestic terror cells in the country.
He said that security is now pursuing other members of the emerging domestic terror cell including the second shooter, Kanaabe.
He said that Police and other security agencies continue to monitor the bad elements and all terror hotspots to help prevent the re-emergence of such acts of domestic terror aimed at undermining the prevailing stability, peace and security in the country.