Uganda: Killer of four gets life sentence

Mamos Media

Police detectives at the scene where two people were murdered at Wabigalo Village, Nakasongola District on December 8, 2019. PHOTO/DAN WANDERA.

By Dan Wandera

The beheading of six people by unknown assailants within three days at one village in Nakasongola District between December 5 and 8, 2019 did not only raise tension in the area but put the country’s security agencies on high alert.

A section of the public and security agencies believed the incidents were a calculated move to cause tension in the country ahead of the festive season.

At the home of the youngest victim, who was grabbed from his mother’s hands, almost everyone who attended the vigil broke down in tears.

Ms Florence Nanyombi’s plea to the assailant to spare her seven-year-old son Amos Ssekanza fell on deaf ears on the fateful day.

Nanyombi and Ssekanaza were attacked on December 5, 2019 as they returned home from Wabigalo Health Centre where they had gone for treatment.

Fortunately, one of the suspected assailants was intercepted by police as he tried to flee to Kampala at Katuugo Village on the Kampala-Gulu Highway.
The suspect had his fate sealed by the long arm of the law on Tuesday after High Court Judge Anthony Ojok Oyuku handed him a life sentence.

Joshua Jumba, alias Sulaiman Fred Kirabo, a resident of Namayonjo Village, Wabigalo parish in Wabinyonyi Sub-county was on December 8 charged with four counts of murder by Nakasongola Chief Magistrate Court.
Before his conviction, Jumba 27, was subjected to a medical examination and found to be of sound mind.

He was charged with the murder of Ssekanzi, Aloysius Matovu, Misaki Mawanda and Judith Adur.

The State prosecution relied on the evidence that included the postmortem reports for the deceased persons, the charge and caution statement of the accused, among other documents exhibited in court. 

Background 
On December 5,  2019, Jumba, who was at the time a resident of Namayonjo Village reportedly picked a machete (panga) and headed to Wabigalo Village, on the Kampala-Gulu Highway using a  feeder road where he met Mawanda grazing cattle and beheaded him. 

He then used a village path where he met Sekanza and his mother Nanyombi. 
Jumba wrestled Nanyombi before grabbing her son whom he also beheaded as the mother escaped. 

On the same day, the assailant beheaded Adur whom he found carrying firewood. 

He also went to Matovu’s home which was a kilometer away. Matovu was peeling matooke when Jumba cut off his head.  

It is reported that on December 7,  2019, Jumba went to a traffic police check-point at Katuugo on the Kampala-Gulu Highway where he reportedly told the police officer that he wanted to go to Kampala but had no money. 

The police officers arrested and handed him over to the Nakasongola Central Police for interrogation.

Prosecution led by Mr Angelo Bengo Wasswa presented Jumba’s medical examination form before Justice Anthony Ojok Oyuk. 

 Although in his charge and caution statement Jumba admitted to committing the murders,  he denied any wrongdoing before Justice Oyuku.

Justice Oyuku concurred with the prosecution evidence.
The court assessors had also opined their observation of the trial proceedings and prayed that court convicts the accused on murder charges.

Prosecution had earlier stated that Jumba with malice aforethought unlawfully killed the four people.
Ruling
“You gruesomely ended life of four people that had done nothing to you and the youngest being aged seven years. You were not remorseful through the trial.

You tried to deny some of the facts and statements you had earlier made at police. This is horrible in my understanding. You are a young man, as the defence lawyer has stated, and capable of reforming and also performing worse things,” Justice Ojok said.

“You caused panic and fear not only in Nakasongola, Luweero, Masindi, Apac, Amoltar and Kampala  among other areas. The defence council had submitted that you are 28 years and first offender and that you can be rehabilitated. The maximum sentence in this case is death. I find it appropriate that the convict spends his entire life in prison,” Justice Oyuku ruled.

The ruling was welcomed by a section of residents of Nakasongola that are still puzzled about the incident that tentatively brought in a curfew as the security  agencies pursued the assailants.

Other residents are wondering about the intention of the assailant and the whereabouts of   others who killed two people.

Mr Joseph Kalwanyi, a resident of Wabigalo village, said: “It is unfortunate that the man convicted will never tell the people of Nakasongola why he targeted the innocent lives and what possibly informed his decision.” 

Mr Sam Kigula,  the Nakasongola LC5 chairperson,  welcomed the ruling saying justice had been served.

“We all panicked when we got the news about the beheading of innocent people. We mobilised and possibly thought that they could strike again but they disappeared into the bush after the second incident. The residents formed vigilant groups to track the suspects. I believe that Nakasongola residents are now on the alert. I continue to appeal for vigilance because many areas in Nakasongola are forested and can be hiding places  for criminal elements,”  Mr Kigula said.

Credit to Daily Monitor.

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