The Police have linked six suspects, arrested in connection with the murders of three Muslim clerics in a space of two weeks, to terrorist group Allied Democratic Forces (ADF)
By John Agaba, Josephine Ganyana & Diana Ankunda
The Police have linked six suspects, arrested in connection with the murders of three Muslim clerics in a space of two weeks, to terrorist group Allied Democratic Forces (ADF).
Police Operations Commander Andrew Felix Kaweesi told journalists Monday that the force had arrested, interrogated, and detained six suspects in connection with the killings of Sheikhs Abdul Muwaya, Mustafa Bahiga, and Mawazi Ssebugwawo.
But all of the suspects have associations with the terrorist group ADF, which also claimed responsibility for last year’s killings in East Democratic Republic of Congo, Kaweesi said to journalists at the Police headquarters in Naguru, Kampala.
“These (Muslim) killings are a broader project of the ADF. They are trying to use diversionary means to limit our investigations and operations. But we are taking a holistic approach in investigations,” Kaweesi said.
Director of Operations in Uganda Police Force Andrew Felix Kaweesi (L) chatting with Police Spokesperson Fred Enanga (M) and Director of Criminal Intelligence and Investigation directorate (CIID) Grace Akullo (R) during a press conference at Naguru Police Headquaters on Monday. Photo by Mary Kansiime
Without mentioning names or places where the suspects are held, on account it could jeopardize investigations, the former Kampala Metropolitan Police Commander explained that “we have interrogated and detained them. They are detained in different police cells countywide.”
“The operation is continuing. We shall arrest all of these people who want to disrupt our peace and to cause anarchy,” he said.
Late last year, two Muslim clerics – Sheikh Abdul Muwaya and Sheikh Mustafa Bahiga – were shot in quick succession by unknown assailants riding on motorcycles.
Early this year, Sheik Mawazi Ssebugwawo was lynched by a mob in Kayunga District.
Abdul Muwaya, the national leader of the Shia Muslim sect in Mayuge District, was gunned down on Christmas Day.
According to Police, Mustafa Bahiga was killed upon arriving at Bwebajja Mosque on Kampala-Entebbe Highway by two assailants on a motorcycle at about 8:00pm on December 28, last year.
Police spokesman Fred Enanga said Bahiga, the Tabliq sect leader in Uganda, was still behind the steering wheel of his car, when he was shot six times in the head, stomach and limbs before the assailants fled.
In all the two incidents, the assailants escaped on motorcycles after the killings. They have not been brought to book, which has started to cause unrest in the public as they search for answers.
Last week, refuting claims that the double high profile murders (of Abdul Muwaya and Mustafa Bahiga) were state inspired, the Operations Commander called for patience, explaining investigations in murder cases are sometimes painstaking and protracted.
During Monday’s briefing the Commander said that their investigations and intelligence also showed that the ADF had infiltrated Uganda and that the terrorists had cells (ADF Cells) where they are recruiting and training people in acts of terrorism, but likewise declined to mention the names or places the cells are located.
“Our investigations show that there are a number of ADF cells in the country. And it is from these cells that we are getting these people who are hitting Muslim Clerics,” Kaweesi said.
“One of them (the suspects) actually revealed that he has trained 60 people in such operations (acts of terrorism). We are going to get all the 60 of them.”
“Today (Monday) or tomorrow (Tuesday), a number of them (the arrested suspects) will be taken to Court as we look for others,” Kaweesi said.
“They train them on how to kill, how to recruit others, and how to disguise themselves. They are trained on how to eliminate those who stand between them and their mission,” he said.
Flanked by Police Spokesperson Fred Enanga, the Operations Commander also revealed that the force had offered to give Muslim leaders bodyguards to avert related chances of them being targeted by these “elements of ADF.”
“I have talked to Sheik Kamoga about the need to be protected. But, he is elusive. He is not clear whether he wants body guards or not. But, whoever (Sheiks) wants body guards, we are giving them,” Kaweesi said.
He said that the force was also on top of the situation in North Western Uganda where tension is boiling between the Amuru and Madi communities in Adjumani District following an influx of Madi refugees into the region after the SPLA vs Brigadier Kenyi conflict in South Sudan.
Muslim Clerics’ murder suspects linked to ADF