By Robert Atuhairwe and Charles Etukuri
The residents of Lusaka Upper, friends, colleagues at work and the family of Barbara Akello, an employee of the Infectious Diseases Institute in Hoima, are still in shock three weeks after her brutal murder.
Twenty-five-year-old Akello’s dismembered body parts were discovered buried in a banana planation.
Other parts were thrown into a pit latrine, while the torso was found in her room.
She was last seen alive on Wednesday, January 28, by her work mates and neighbours.
Akello was renting a single room at Lusaka Upper.
According to her neighbours, on the day she was murdered, Akello had just returned from a field tour in Bulisa district.
“We were with her in the field in Buliisa district,” Betty Kyimba, a colleague, says.
The team had worked till late but had not finished their assignment and were supposed to go back the next day. They were to be picked up as a team the following morning (Thursday, January 29).
“We had agreed to leave by 8:00am and had all assembled at the waiting area. She was the only one who was missing. We then tried calling her mobile numbers, but they were all switched off,” Kiyimba says.
Since they knew her place, they agreed to drive there.
“We found the door locked and, despite knocking on the door several times, we received no response,” she says.
The window was open and one of the team members decided to peep into the room. “We thought that she might have fallen sick and was unable to move o respond to our calls,” another colleague says.
A grisly sight
“It was the most horrible sight I have ever seen. Blood was spilled on the mattress and the house was in a mess. The killer(s) might have attempted to ransack the room in search of something,” the colleague says.
They immediately alerted the neighbours. Her landlady, Catherine Kajumba, and the Police were also alerted. The Police brought a sniffer dog. It followed the scent to a nearby pit latrine and, later, a banana plantation.
The dog also took them to a house that belonged to Peter Rujumba. He was arrested. Rujumba had been seen at Akello’s house on several occasions. The Police suspect the two were dating.
“She was so nice both at work and in private life. We wonder why these people could do such a thing to her,” Kiyimba says.
Lydia Tumushabe, the Albertine regional Police spokesperson, said Akello’s body was cut into three parts.
“The legs and head were cut off and dumped in a pit latrine, some parts were dumped in the banana plantation and the remaining part was lying in a pool of blood in her bedroom,” she says.
According to the Police, none of the neighbours heard any scuffle or alarm.
The killer(s) could have first strangled her before dismembering her body, with the aim of concealing evidence.
Police, led by Charles Ssebambulidde, used hoes, pangas and axes to cut through the pit slabs and later used ropes to pull out Akello’s body parts.
Police later recovered a letter left behind by the killer, detailing how the killing would take place.
They also recovered two knives.
“When we recovered the body, we realised that he had followed his script in detail. He killed Akello exactly the way he had described in the letter,” Ssebambulidde says.
Police detectives now believe that Akello’s killer was known to her.
“According to statements recorded from the neighbours, there was a boy who used to come and visit her every evening. On the fateful day, he was the last person seen entering the deceased’s house.
“He (Peter Rujumba) fled the area shortly after the incident, but we were able to track him down in Kampala.”
According to the Police, the killer might have waited for his victim to sleep before strangling her.
After Rujumba was arrested in Kawempe, he was transferred to Hoima, where he was charged with murder and aggravated robbery and remanded.
A few of her close friends says Akello wanted to end the relationship.
Police think the two were having misunderstandings in their relationship.
The Police are still trying to establish the motive but they say the killer might have been acting under the influence of alcohol and drugs.
Ugandan held in London for killing wife Publish Date: Aug 02, 2013
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