New revelations indicate that leaders of Usafi mosque in Kisenyi where security agencies rescued a total of 112 people believed to have been hostages on Friday, had exhibited suspicious behavior recently.
Witnesses say that leaders at the said mosque had restricted many muslims from accessing the mosque in the days leading to the operation.
On Friday, CMI led other security agencies to raid Usafi mosque. A reliable senior security source had told SoftPower News on Friday night that they were following a lead by one of Susan Magara murder suspect’s confession that some of the killers were hiding in Usafi mosque in downtown Kampala. During the operation, CMI operatives found 18 women and 94 children of various nationalities suspected to have been either kidnapped or held hostage were rescued.
Thirty six (36) people were arrested for their alleged involvement in the criminal activity.
According to the first Police statement released on Saturday, two suspected terrorists were gunned down. A subsequent Police that afternoon stated that the operation was part of leads in the investigation of the abduction of former accountant, Susan Magara and her eventual brutal murder in February this year. On Friday night, the security operatives were led to Usafi mosque by one of the suspects in Susan Magara’s case where they would later discover exhibits of alleged criminal activity.
In the mosque, security operatives recovered 60 rounds of 7.62mm ammunition, 23 double edged machetes, 1 bow and a laptop.
Several of the witnesses that SoftPower News spoke to who preferred anonymity for fear of retribution have revealed that they had been denied access to the mosque for unknown reasons.
“We (muslims) are happy that the team was roughed up, they say they were segregative on who prays from the mosque, more children are feared dead,” one of the witnesses said.
“This mosque is for remnants of Jamil Mukulu, they have been taking people’s children forcefully,” he added.
Asked to explain how the suspects were arrested and whether they were armed, he said there was fire exchange.
“There was exchange of fire, that mosque is deadly, one of the guys in that mosque once sliced his own head,” he added.
Questions have since emerged regarding the circumstances under which close to 100 children were found and how they ended up in the mosque. So far, Police says the children could have been victims to the recent spate of kidnaps in central Uganda.
A witnessed said; “Some of them [parents] were lied to that their children are going for further studies. Some were forcefully taken”.
“There is a woman whose children were taken by someone, who has since disappeared. She tried to get back the children in vain. She filed complaints at two Police Stations but wasn’t helped,” the witness explained to this website.
An eye witness said the soldiers who had rounded up the mosque met heavy resistance from the mosque occupants.
“The mosque faithfuls were overwhelmed by the soldiers. The soldiers found so many held children and women,” the eye witness said.
They said the events on Friday confirmed their earlier skepticism on why some authorities at the mosque never allowed all Muslims to pray from there.
“After the rescue of the children, I confirmed why the mosque never allowed all muslims to pray from that masjid. They considered every other muslim a ‘kafir’ (non believer) apart from themselves. There was something fishy”.
A hawker who conducts business near Usafi mosque said the mosque was not accessible to ordinary people except those known to the leaders.
“One day I was late for Jumah (friday prayers), I tried to pray from there, I was chased away badly”.
It is said that the presence of the soldiers at the Usafi mosque had prompted some of leaders to flee the scene. Someone whose friend lived in the mosque said that one of the muslim leaders had earlier fearlessly cut off his finger in the presence of other believers.
“Those people have hard hearts, imagine one of the leader stood up and cut off his finger. He then told people in the mosque that he was punishing himself,” he said.
“A friend of mine who lives in the mosque told me he got out only because he is trusted by one of the leaders who sends him to buy a few things. I feared him when he told me his leader stabbed himself in the presence of others in the mosque in a show of bravery”.