I was Coerced to Sign Documents: Suspect in Police Officers Murder Trial

Stuart Lugendo, one of the suspects facing trial for the murder of Police officers in Kiboga and Mityana districts has told the General Court Martial that he was coerced into signing documents used by the prosecution to incriminate him and 21 others.

The suspects are Issa Kizito alias Commander Muto, Stuart Lugendo, Savio Paul (alias Kuffa-Teeka), Julius Mulinda (alias Julio), Muhammad Nyanzi Makumbi (alias Engineer), Godfrey Agodri (alias Walker Ramathan), Paul Iyamuremye, Alex Bogere, Bob Robert Ssenyonga, John Masembe (alias Nasifu), Faizo Miti, Hakim Ssenyonjo, Sylvester Matovu, Derick Kawuma, Tonny Ssekayombya, Sam Sengonzi Lwanga, Tonny Sseguya, Robert Wamala, Joram Gamwosi, Arthur Ndawula, Benon Kiseka, Kassim Kibirango, and David Ssemwogerere.

On December 7, 2021, the group and others still at large allegedly caused the unlawful death of Corporal Alfred Okech and Police Constable Moses Kigongo in Ssebobo village, Mityana district, and made off with two AK-47 rifles and ammunition.

It is alleged that on the same day, the suspects also caused the unlawful death of Special Police Constable Francis Ddimba at Nakasozi Police Post in Nakasengere, Kiboga district.

Additionally, on December 16, 2021, the suspects reportedly returned to Nakasozi Police Post and killed Corporal Francis Nsubuga. However, during the hearing on Monday, Stuart Lugendo claimed that despite spending nearly three years in jail, he was unaware of the charges against him.

He alleged that security operatives forced him to sign several statements without allowing him to read them. He claimed that he was coerced into signing the first document with the promise of releasing his tortured and detained family members.

Lugendo also mentioned being promised a meeting with President, Yoweri Kaguta Museveni, which never happened, leading to him signing another document. Lugendo told the court that he only knew four of his co-accused individuals, and the rest were strangers to him. He also revealed his conversion to Islam during his time in prison.

Court adjourned the case to July 24, 2023, for further hearing. An anonymous relative of the accused outside the court claimed that the accusations against the suspects by the state were fabricated.

According to the relative, the real reason for their persecution was their political beliefs, particularly their support for the opposition National Unity Platform (NUP) party and its leader Robert Kyagulanyi (Bobi Wine). NUP and security operatives have been involved in a contentious relationship, with NUP leaders alleging the abduction and torture of their supporters by security agents. Some individuals have faced charges or disappeared after allegedly being kidnapped and produced in court.

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