KAMPALA – The High Court in Kampala on Friday acquitted Hamza Mwebe, one of the suspects in the murder case of ASP, Muhammad Kirumira and his friend, Resty Nalinya. But plain clothed security personnel re-arrested Mwebe, shortly after his acquittal.
Mwebe was accused together with Abubaker Kalungi for allegedly taking part in the murder of the police officer and his friend, who were driving in the same car on the fateful night.
Prosecution alleges that Kalungi had mentioned Mwebe as one of his friends, in the mission to trail Kirumira.
According to court records, the two were killed in September 2018 after assailants riding a motorcycle shot at them several times. They succumbed to wounds caused by gun shots that had damaged their critical internal organs.
In her ruling delivered Friday, Judge Margaret Mutonyi noted that prosecution didn’t inform court why and how Mwebe was arrested. She said that there was no evidence pinning Mwebe to the crime since no witness accused him of any wrong doing and his phone too was not tapped or linked to those of Kalungi and Badru Kateregga who is said to have pulled the trigger. The Judge consequently ordered for Mwebe’s release.
After the order, Mwebe stepped out the dock; took a seat and bent his head forward as tears of joy poured out of his eyes. Court had granted him freedom more than two years, ago.
As for Kalungi court ordered him to defend himself because the evidence before court could not be used to draw a conclusion about his innocence or guilt.
Evidence before court indicates that upon arrest, Kalungi was taken to his mothers’ home to search for any evidence and that while there, it said that his mother asked him why he was on handcuffs and he told her that he had been lured into crime by two of his colleagues, Mwebe and Kateregga, whom security operatives had killed an arrest mission.
Kalungi is said to have been hired by Mwebe and Kateregga to trail Kirumira. Prosecution alleges that on the day of the murder, Kalungi was the one who called Kateregga and Mwebe to come to where Kirumira and Nalinya were, murdering them.
Prosecution presented before court evidence showing communication between a phone number said to belong to Kalungi and the other to Kateregga. It is said that the two talked often before the murder and on the day of the incident.
The judge had adjourned the matter to February 22, 2023 when Kalungi shall appear before court to defend himself. He was allowed to consult with his lawyer and also bring witnesses to support his case.
But soon after the court session, and at the gate of the High Court Criminal Division premises in Kampala, people in civilian clothes grabbed Mwebe – his lawyer, Zefarania Zimbe, confirmed.
Zimbe narrated that the plain clothed personnel pulled over at the gate, grabbed Mwebe, and bundled him into a waiting Toyota Hiace van, infamously referred to as drone, and sped off.
According to Zimbe, one of the operatives told him that they were taking him to the Kampala Central Police Station.
However, neither security nor Zimbe could confirm Mwebe’s whereabouts.
Additional reporting by URN