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Rakai school fire: Wanted Bursar turns himself in

By Davis Buyondo

Added 18th December 2018 05:06 PM

Information from different intelligence sources had linked him to the dreadful incident that claimed 10 students.

Rakai school fire: Wanted Bursar turns himself in

Information from different intelligence sources had linked him to the dreadful incident that claimed 10 students.


RAKAI- Joseph Sserunjogi, the bursar of St. Bernard's Mannya Secondary School finally turned himself in three days after mysteriously eluding security operatives.

On Tuesday, Brigadier Elly Kayanja, the former commander of Operation Wembley, ordered Sserunjogi's arrest for questioning concerning the dormitory fire incident.
Information from different intelligence sources had linked him to the dreadful incident that claimed 10 students. At least  37 were injured and different properties destroyed on November 11 2018.

Plain-cloth operatives from Internal Security Organisation (ISO) went to pick him from the school but he had fled.

His escape later prompted Moses Sseruwu, the Rakai district Internal Security Officer (DISO), to make radio announcements looking for him. 

A sh5m reward was  offered to whoever  would reveal his whereabouts to the authorities.

However, on  Thursday mid-morning, Sserunjogi come out of  his  hideout and presented himself to Brig. Kayanja who took him to ISO headquarters in Nakasero.

A district security committee member told New Vision that he was questioned for several hours before he returned to meet Brig. Kayanja for further inquiries on Friday.

In Kayanja's absence, his brother only known as Kabogere re-arrested Sserunjogi and returned him to ISO headquarters. By Saturday, he had not returned to his family causing more worries.

Now, Sserunjogi becomes the  sixth  schools staff to record statements in relation to the incident.

Also Henry Nsubuga , the headteacher, Geoffrey Owori , assistant director of studies, Adolf Kagwa (warden) Ronald Mugisha and Achilles Mugerwa were arrested shortly after the incident. But they recorded statements and later were  released on bond.  

However, Sseruwu (DISO) said he is not aware of anything since he was not notified. He added that he wouldn't be running constant announcements on radio looking for him.

"I still have the bounty of sh5m in cash. If that was the case, my superiors would have already asked me to return it. But in the meantime, I do not have official communication," he argued. 

Fellow staff and family

The headteacher, Henry Nsubuga said Sserunjogi's family members are worried because they have not seen him since Tuesday. It is said that his known numbers were not answered which prompted Nsubuga and other staff to search for him.

They also traced for his wife in Kyanjale trading centre in Kyamuyimbwa parish-Kabonera sub-county (Masaka) hoping to find him but all in vain which propelled more tension.

However, as they were searching for him news reached them that he had turned himself in to the authorities.

Aboard member, Mary Nassejje Ssemuju, said Sserunjogi explained that he escaped from the operatives because they didn't clearly identify themselves yet they were asking too many questions which confused him.

She further explained that circumstances under which he is accused are still questionable because he is among the people who are helpful in searching and bringing students for enrolment at the school.

Another teacher argued that there's no way Sserunjogi would conspire to burn the dormitory in which his own nephew, Anthony Ssekitende ( now deceased)  resided.

"Ssekitende is among the 10 people who died in the fire and yet it is Sserunjogi who brought him to study. Therefore there is suspicious politics behind this matter," she said.

Operatives raid home

On saturday around 9:00pm, Police and other army operatives raided Sserunjogi's home in Kyanjale. The heavy deployment caused tension in the area especially among his family members. The wife was told not to leave the home for unknown reasons.

Although the actual purpose of the deployment was not clear, some sources said operatives wanted to collect corroborating evidence from his house while others said it was a different case.

By Sunday morning, Maj. Daniel Atwine, the Masaka Armoured Brigade Intelligence Officer, had not commented on the matter.  


The six suspects in the case include Alex Taremwa 18, Junior Mugarura 18, Dickson Kisuule 18 and Niyo Edison 21 (all students).  Others include Michael Tayebwa, a security guard and a police officer,Corp. Steven Nzeyimana.

The students have 10 counts of murder, 37 of attempted murder, two  of attempted arson and one of  malicious damage while Tayebwa and Nzeyimaana have only one count of duty negligence.

On Thursday, they reappeared at Masaka Grade One Magistrate's court and were remanded until January 10, 2019.


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