The freedom of six Kisenyi Al Shabaab terror suspects who were acquitted of terrorism was short-lived after they were re-arrested by plain-clothed security operatives and driven to unknown destination.
Immediately after the accused were acquitted by the pre-trial judge Michael Elubu on Monday evening, there surfaced a dark blue van that was parked outside the gate.
However, as the accused were being led outside the gate by Prisons officers, they were surrounded, dragged into the waiting vehicle, which sped-off to an unknown destination.
This left the relatives of the accused, especially women clad in hijabs wailing, as they demanded for their release.
“Our people have been released and again re-arrested. What did we do to deserve this,” one of the women shouted?
The court declined to confirm charges of aiding and abetting terrorism and conspiracy to commit terrorism against six out of eight suspects after the state failed to produce evidence incriminating them of the crimes during pre-trial.
The six are Mohamed Abdulkdir, 34, Abdi Abdullahi Bootan, 29, Hassan Abduwali Mohamoud, 28, Mohammed Ahmed Gele, 31, Yusuf Osman Hussein, 35, and Mohamad Yusuf Farah,34; a Kenyan national. The rest of the suspects are Somalis.
Those confirmed for trial include Abdi Ali and Mohamed Abdulkadir, 27. A person found guilty of the offence of aiding and abetting terrorism is liable to face a death sentence.
The International Crimes Division Judge pronounced the ruling in the presence of senior state attorney Lillian Omara Alum and lawyer MacDosman Kabega for the accused.
Prosecution alleges that the accused and others still at large in September 2015, in different places in Uganda, Kenya and Somalia, aided, abetted and or rendered support to Al-Shabaab, knowingly and having reason to believe that such support would be used for or in connection with the preparation and commission of acts of terrorism.
Prosecution further alleges that the suspects between 2010 and September 2014 belonged to Al-Qaeda and its affiliate Al-Shabaab, which are both listed as terrorist organisations under the Anti-Terrorism Act 2002 of Uganda.
How they were arrested
The suspects were rounded up in a joint security operation in the city suburb of Kisenyi in 2015. Kisenyi is home to numerous Somali refugees.
According to Police, the accused were staying in rental houses they had turned into cells in Kisenyi, Nakulabye, Kasubi, Busega and Lungujja to assemble explosives they were going to use to bomb Kampala.
These records also show the suspects entered the country without passports through unofficial entry points along the borders with Kenya and South Sudan and boarded vehicles to Kampala.
The Al-Shabaab, according to security sources, wanted to ‘punish’ Uganda for the role played by the UPDF serving on a peacekeeping mission in Somalia in providing intelligence that enabled the US forces to knock out Al-Shabaab's overall commander Ahmed Godane, who was killed in a US air strike in Somalia.