Her mother says they attempted to send the money at around midday, but received a call from the girl’s grandparents who notified them that her body had been found not more than 500 metres away in an abandoned house.
The family of nine-year-old Dylan Kirabo who was kidnapped and killed has expressed fears after the same phone number to which they paid a ransom continued calling them.
In an exclusive interview with the Sunday Vision, Kirabo’s mother, Dorah Namayanja, noted that they had continued receiving calls from the same MTN registered number, asking the family to send them more money.
“We are scared, and we do not know what will happen next. We handed over this information to the Police the day our daughter went missing and, surely, by now, that suspect should be in custody,” a visibly shaken Namayanja who is still recovering from the ordeal of losing her daughter, narrated.
Hakim Sibukyu, Dylan’s father, also urged security agencies to ensure all those involved in the murder of his daughter are netted. The Kampala Metropolitan Police spokesperson, Patrick Onyango, confirmed that the Police had made progress on the file and that they were tracking down the phone contacts.
He, however, could not explain why tracking down the people using the phone could take a week. “We have zeroed down on the contacts and we shall soon be arresting the suspects involved,” Onyango noted.
He added that the continued calls by the suspects was giving the Police an added advantage and all the suspects would be arrested very soon.
Kirabo, who was a student at Kampala Junior School in Najjanankumbi, a city suburb, went missing on Thursday, January 9, 2020, at Luwafu in Makindye division, Kampala, where she was living with her grandparents. On the day she went missing, her aunt who was preparing lunch sent her at around midday, to buy spices at a nearby shop which was not more than 50 metres from her grandparents’ home. “She usually lives with us at home in Kinaawa, Wakiso district during the weekends and holidays but because she studies in Najjanakumbi, her grandparents preferred she stays with them during school days,” Namayanja stated.
She noted that her daughter had gone to stay with her grandparents for one week, when the incident happened. It is believed her kidnappers lured her, on her way to the shop and took her to an unknown place.
The family says they got to know about her missing in the afternoon and immediately alerted relatives, local council, Police and friends. “I was alerted, and we immediately went to Police and reported a case of a missing person. We also proceeded to print out her photos, which we shared on social media and and placed a radio announcement,” Namayanja stated.
According to James Tumwesigye, the LC1 defence secretary for Makindye, a Kampala suburb, they moved around the village that same evening, with loudspeakers, announcing her disappearance. “Nobody had seen her that evening and after making the announcements, our team retreated and waited for the next day,” he said.
Namayanja noted that the first call the family got was from the same number that has continued calling them, till now. “We got the first call at around 10:00pm from someone who sounded like a man. He notified us that he had Kirabo and demanded we pay sh200,000 as ransom.
I asked him where my daughter was, but he insisted that I first pay the money,” Namayanja said. She said after consulting with the family members who were present, they agreed to send the money on the number that the suspect had used, with the hope that they would see their daughter the following day.
“We kept on praying that she is safe and that her captor would keep his word and safely hand her over to us the next day,” Namayanja adds.
However, this was never to be. On Friday, at around 6:00am, the same number contacted Kirabo’s father and the mother, later, asking them to send more money.
“We immediately reported the matter to the Police with the hope that they would be tracked down. We also got another call from an Airtel line and the caller notified us that he knew where Kirabo was but wanted us to send him some money and airtime,” Namayanja adds.
She says they attempted to send the money at around midday but received a call from the girl’s grandparents who notified them that her body had been found not more than 500 metres away in an abandoned house.
The body had been mutilated. Kirabo had met her death in the most gruesome manner and the pain she endured in the hands of her tormentor is even hard to describe.
Namayanja described her daughter as a brilliant, adorable, amiable girl who was loved by everyone. “At school, almost everybody knew her. I had a lot of hope in her and I would urge security to ensure that as a family, we get justice,” she stated.
Sources in Police noted that Dylan Kirabo’s murder might have been a clear case of criminal elements utilising the phone registration shortcoming to commit the crime.
The demand for ransom and murder of Kirabo comes in the wake of a meeting between the deputy Inspector General of Police, Maj. Gen. Muzeyi Sabiti, early this month and Uganda Communications Commission officials led by its executive director, Godfrey Mutabazi.
The meeting, which was also attended by representatives of Airtel, MTN and other telecom companies, focussed on incidents of unlawful multiple sim-card registrations, which security said facilitates crime.
In the meeting, it was resolved that all telecom companies put in place mechanisms to closely monitor the registration of sim-cards in order to protect customers’ data from being misused.
A special task team has also been put in place comprising officials from UCC, security agencies and telecoms to review ways in which sim-card registration can further be enhanced to promote safety and security of users and the general public.
Sunday Vision has learnt that Police had arrested one suspect who was a neighbour of Kirabo’s grandparents. The suspect had earlier been arrested in October after he reportedly lured a young girl who was about Kirabo’s age, to the same building and attempted to rape her.
However, it remains unclear why the suspect was out of custody, despite the overwhelming evidence. On Wednesday, detectives from Katwe Police Station took the suspect to his house and attempted to search, but did not recover anything, though they said they were still holding onto him for further interrogations.
They are also trying to secure CCTV footage to try and track down Kirabo’s movement on a fateful day. They have also recorded statements.
Kirabo’s death comes three weeks after a five-year-old girl, Betty Nalwango, who was playing with her friends at the home of her aunt, Florence Nantale, in Kagoma on Bombo Road, went missing. Her body was later recovered in a bush. The Police is yet to arrest her killers.