Courts Starts Defence Hearing in Kirumira Murder Case
The High Court in Kampala has commenced hearing of defense of the suspect in the murder of former Buyende District Police Commander Muhammad Kirumira and his friend Resty Nalinya Mbabazi.
The duo was gunned down by unknown people on 8th, September 2018 in Bulenga Wakiso district.
Subsequently, several people were arrested and the directorate of public prosecutions started prosecuting the case. Two men, Hamza Mwebe and Abubaker Kalungi have been appearing before court to answer to charges of murder. But on 23rd December 2022 Judge Margrate Mutonyi acquitted Mwebe after prosecution failed to prove the reason for his arrest and his connection to the case. This left only Kalungi as the available suspect in custody to answer to the murder.
Today court commenced hearing the defence of the suspect, and Kalungi took the witness stand telling court what transpired before and after his arrest.
Kalungi, a carpenter from Ndejje Kibutika Wakiso district says that he was arrested while on a work trip in Bulisa in September 2018. He recalls how men unknown to him rounded them up as they sat in a group in the evening at around 7:30pm. He says, they grabbed one energetic looking man asking if he was Abubaker Kalungi. He, Kalungi owned up to his name and immediately he was shoved to the ground before his captors shot two bullets in the ground.
They shouted, “Should we kill you?”, “No” he pleaded, Kalungi narrates.
He says, from here, he was captured, his phone and 200,000 shillings he had on him taken and his head covered that he couldn’t recognize anything. He was tortured while in transit, he says.
“They handcuffed me and covered my face. They led me on where to step as we walked up some steps,” narrates Kalungi who says he was led to a place he later identified as the headquarters of the Chieftaincy of Military Intelligence-CMI, Mbuya.
After they had removed the head cuffs, he was asked to look through the window and identify the far place he could see. It was Banda, he says. He was then asked if he could tell where he was and when he responded that it’s Mbuya, his captors affirmed it.
When he was arrested Kalungi says he met two men only identified as Captain Okumu and also Wolimbwa. The following days after arrest were characterized by further beatings and torture. He narrates how he was tortured to a level of losing skin on his forehead, his fingers cut with razor blades and his palms pierced with needles. He says during the torture, he was asked to confess to the murder of Kirumira or incriminate someone else.
“They told me I killed Kirumira and I told them I hadn’t. They tortured me until I lost conscious, when I regained, my head was spinning and my lips cracked from torture,” narrates Kalungi. He says some of his captors would return after the torture sessions and encourage him to incriminate someone like Hamza Mwebe and Badru Kateregga (who was killed by security when they went to arrest him over the same case) if he won’t confess.
He was also asked to incriminate a police officer with whom they once shared a room as captives. He says they threatened to kill him by chopping off his head. Kalungi narrates that they kept him under darkness and would come occasionally to ask that he signs some documents. He was forced to append his finger print since he couldn’t sign due to injuries on his hands, he says.
Prosecution led by Thomas Jatiko asked Kalungi if he killed Kirumira and Nalinya, if he knew Mwebe and Kateregga and if he or his friends belonged to the rebel group Allied Democratic Forces. Kalungi denied killing Kirumira or Nalinya, denied knowing Mwebe or Kateregga and denied being part of ADF or any of his friends being part of the organisation.
Kalungi says on the day Kirumira was killed, the news of which he learnt through CBS radio, he had worked in the neighborhood at Hajj Kiwuwa’s house, roofing his house and later returned home.
His wife, Halima Naggita was the second witness. She told court that her husband had slept at home and left for work at Hajj Kiwuwa’s house and later returned home where he slept on the day Kirumira was announced murdered. Defence Counsel Zefania Zimbe has said he would present four witnesses but later settled for two saying they would suffice.
The case resumes on 13th March 2023 as prosecution and defense make their submissions and prayers.