The lawyer representing 19 individuals accused of manufacturing, planting, and detonating Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) at Kampala Central Police Station (CPS) and the IPS building approximately two years ago has requested the International Crimes Division of the High Court to dismiss terrorism charges against them.
The suspects, including mobile money operator Yusuf Muwonge (alias Hamza Ssemaganda, alias Robert Danze), Shamirah Naddamba, Ismail Kiyemba, a welder, Muniru Bogere, a boda boda rider, Eron Nanfuka, a student, Sharon Nakitende, a tailor, and Annet Nakato Nakibirango, a housewife, among others appeared for a pretrial hearing before Justice Richard Wejuli Wabwire.
The prosecution, led by State Attorney Joseph Kyomuhendo, requested an adjournment, stating they needed more time to disclose evidence to the defense and file an application for witness protection. However, defense lawyer Anthony Asiimwe objected, claiming that the prosecution has been consistently seeking adjournments, infringing on the rights of the accused.
He requested the court to dismiss the case until the prosecution is fully prepared. Justice Wabwire adjourned the case to September 29, 2023, while cautioning the prosecution to expedite the evidence-sharing process. The accused were remanded to Luzira prison, where they have been held for about two years. The records before the court indicate a series of bomb attacks in 2021, attributed to unknown assailants with the intention of discrediting the government.
One attack involved a suicide bomber detonating an IED on a Swift Bus in Mpigi District, killing himself and injuring others. The deceased, Isaac Matovu resided in a room rented by the key suspect, Sharif Kiyemba, who remains at large. Preliminary investigations led to the arrest of suspects found in possession of an IED allegedly provided by their co-accused.
Five women are accused of aiding, harboring, financing, and supporting Kiyemba to prepare or commit acts of terrorism. Evidence indicates that Ismail Kiyemba admitted to making IEDs, including the one used by the deceased suicide bomber. He confirmed that Sharif Kiyemba had contracted him to create a more powerful bomb for future use.
“Upon arrest A2, Ismail Kiyemba admitted and confirmed that he often made improvised Explosive Devices IEDs and among them was the one he made for and was used by Matovu alias Muzafaru alias Musilamu the deceased swift bus suicide bomber who along Lungala, within Mpigi District detonated the IED killing him instantly and injuring other passengers aboard the swift Bus. He further admits that one Sharif Kiyemba the key suspect still at large had contracted him to improvise a bomb for him with greater capacity than that he made for Matovu Isaac,” reads the committal papers.
The state asserts that they have sufficient evidence, including call data, phone records, and police reports, showing communication between the accused and three suicide bombers responsible for the attacks. The committal papers, signed by Thomas Jatiko, the Assistant Director of Public Prosecutions, include postmortem reports indicating the cause of death as explosive objects produced by the suspects.
Various exhibits, such as telephone handsets, flash discs, DVDs, CDs, chemicals, and electronic components, were recovered from Kiyemba’s possession and submitted for examination and analysis to be used as trial evidence.