A week after a joint security operation raided a mosque near Usafi in Kampala and rescued over 100 people including women, boys and girls said to have been captives, Police have revealed new disturbing findings.
The Deputy Police Spokesperson, SP Patrick Onyango said on Monday that the scope of investigations in the case has widened, including kidnap with intent of; murder, defilement, human trafficking and sexual violence.
Onyango told the press that 11 of the 63 girls that were found in the mosque tested positive for defilement and 7 of them were found to have been impregnated by their captors. The pregnant girls are between the age of 13 to 15.
The other four girls told authorities that they had been defiled, which was later corroborated by confessions by the arrested suspects, said Onyango.
On April 27, at least 36 people were arrested for alleged involvement in acts of kidnap, murder and terrorism at the mosque in downtown Kampala. During the same joint operation, security operatives recovered 60 rounds of 7.62mm ammunition, 23 double edged machetes, 1 bow and a laptop in the mosque.
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.
“Initially, the focus was to pursue suspects in the kidnap and murder of late Susan Magara but it is now beyond that. During the course of interviewing suspects and the rescued women and children, investigations have been widened,” Onyango told journalists during a joint press briefing with the UPDF Deputy Spokesperson, Lt Col Deo Akiiki.
“The investigations now include murder, kidnap with intent to murder, intent to demand ransom, defilement, human trafficking, sexual violence and others,” Onyango added.
He said some of the suspects now in custody have participated in defiling some of the rescued children, trafficked and sexually harassed others. However, he was unable to disclose how long the said captives had spent at the mosque.
At the moment, the Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development together with other social workers are offering counsel to the defiled girls in a bid to relieve them of the psychological trauma. Authorities are trying to contact their parents to have them reunited.
Onyango also said that three of the 28 women have been identified to be nationals of Burundi but have since refused to speak with the investigators. Their friends told authorities that they were Burundians.
In another development, Police has revealed that imvestigating teams were led by suspects to several scenes where plans to kidnap and murder Magara were hatched and executed. Several exhibits were retrieved although Onyango was resistant to divulge details for fear of jeopardizing the probe.
Asked to explain how the killers of Magara were connected to the mosque at Usafi, Onyango said part of the planning for her murder was done at the mosque.
According to Lt Col Deo Akiki, the case of Magara’s death remains top on the agenda in both investigations.
Explaining the role of the military in both investigations, the Deputy army Spokesperson said the interest of the military in the case of continues to rise given its nature of terrorism.
“The jointness in this investigation is not limited to the Magara case. Some of the exhibits attract our interest of the military. We want to assure the nation that this jointness is yielding results that will give Ugandans confidence that the country is secure,” Lt Col Deo Akiki said.
Patrick Onyango told the press that more arrests have been made since the operation was conducted and that suspexts are to face charges of murder, kidnap, human trafficking among others.