Was Nakafeero’s kidnap fake?

By Davis Buyondo

RPC Bogere said that Mugendawala’s information is incoherent and they have since sighted lies in what appears to have already caused tension in different communities and the country at large.

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The story about the alleged kidnap and murder of a 14-year-old Zahara Nakafeero, a daughter to Abdul Kabugo Mugendawala, the Ndagwe sub-county councillor, which dominated the media weeks back could have been a hoax.

This is according to the girl’s mother Margaret Nabulya, who is currently in Abu Dhabi.  

Nabulya says Nakafeero is alive and has never been kidnapped as her father Mugendawala claims. She explained that Mugendawala went on to report the matter even when he knew where the girl was.

Nakafeero, a Senior Two student at Kirimya Vocational and Secondary school-Masaka, is said to have disappeared on November 23 after her promotional exams.

Instead of proceeding home, Nabulya said the girl went to her boyfriend’s place in Mbarara and they have been in touch since then.

She accuses Mugendawala of trying to get money using the claim that his daughter had been kidnapped.

“How can he tell the public that Nakafeero was kidnapped and a ransom asked? Does he know the problems he can cause my daughter?” she reacted.

She further explained that she may be away, but she knows what goes around in her daughter’s life.  

“I immediately got a call from my in-laws that her boyfriend called them saying she was safe and would return home. Up to now the girl still communicates with my in-laws and she’s well,” she said.

Fake news in Parliament?
It is after Nabulya’s revelation that local reporters from different media houses realised they could have used to relay a fake story about the girl’s kidnap.

On Thursday, the fake news again made its way to the floor of parliament. Different Members of Parliament, including the Lwengo District Woman MP- Cissy Donozia Namujju, tasked government to intervene and produce a report on the matter.

How it all started
Mugendawala, also the director of Kirimya Vocational and Secondary school, reported the girl’s alleged kidnap at Masaka Police station on November 24, 2018.

An SD Ref. no. 65/24/11/2018 was opened up for investigations. He said that on December 15, 2018, the kidnappers called him asking for sh11m or they kill her.

Later, he said the kidnappers called him, saying they had killed the girl and wanted sh5m to tell him where the body was.

“I engaged the Police once again after two weeks of waiting in vain for the kidnappers’ call. I was compelled to engage the Police once again to help me in this regard as I look for the money to collect the body,” he had said.

Maj. Flavia Terimulungi, the Spokesperson - Uganda People’s Defence Forces Armoured Brigade in Masaka, said they had launched a joint operation to discover the girl, dead or alive and bring the perpetrators to book. She further appealed for public support in their search operation.

What does Police say?
According to Ronald Bogere, the Regional Criminal Investigative Officer, information surrounding the case is mixed up.

Bogere said that Mugendawala’s information is incoherent and they have since sighted lies in what appears to have already caused tension in different communities and the country at large.

He said they have already received Nabulya’s account and investigating to find the truth of the matter started.

“If we establish that he provided wrong information, then we will have to arrest and charge him because such actions are unacceptable,” he said.

Wave of kidnaps
This year the region has suffered several abductions in which the kidnappers ask for ransom. In these abductions, one person has been killed and others released after paying the ransom.

In May, a 17-year-old Rosemary Nakisekka of Kigo village in Kalungu district was kidnapped in Kampala.

He her abductors asked her father Fred Kasagga for sh5m to release her. Kasagga reported the matter at Central Police Station in Kampala and at Masaka police station for help.

However, Kasagga failed to raise the money in the shortest time (12 days). Nakisinde was murdered and her decomposing, amputated body was discovered at Kinawataka. She was buried in Sembabule district.

Another kidnap occurred in November in Lwamaggwa trading centre in Rakai district. A two-year-old girl, Favour Mulungi Wanyana, was abducted by unknown people from her parents’ home.

As her parents Mike Ssewanyana and Sylvia Nabukenya were looking for her, they got a call from the kidnappers asking for sh4.5m if they wanted to see their daughter alive.

They sent the money on the mobile number provided and the following morning the girl was abandoned at Kalisizo town where the Police picked her and reunited her with her parents.