Nineteen people accused of manufacturing, planting, and denoting Improvised Explosive Devices-IEDs at Kampala Central Police Station (CPS) and IPS building approximately two years ago have appeared before the International Crimes Division of the High Court.
The suspects include Mobile Money Operators Yusuf Muwonge alias Hamza Ssemaganda alias Robert Danze and 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.
Others are Zam Naiga, Ismail Matiwa, Huzaifa, Faisal Nadir Nsubuga, Bashir Jjuuko Kiwanuka alias Fred, Mohammed Kisiitu, Hamuza Bakyayita a conductor, Jero Ishaq a Shop Attendant and Twaha Wambedde, an Imam at Kabila Mosque in Nabweru in Nansana Municipality in Wakiso District.
Also among the accused is Juliet Nansubuga alias Maama Bumali alias Hajjati Mujabirina alias Butambika a Tanzanian national and hawker/Artist, and Faisal Muwonge a Sales Person and businesswoman Jalia Nabukenya. They appeared before Justice Richard Wejuli Wabwire on Monday.
The prosecutor, State Attorney Joseph Kyomuhendo, requested more time to consult with his superiors as he was not prepared with the case file, leading to an adjournment of the proceedings to August 9th, 2023. He also directed the state to assign the suspects a lawyer after informing the court that they had got a misunderstanding with their lawyer Geoffrey Turyamusiima.
The suspects were committed for trial in 2022 by Buganda Road Court Grade One Magistrate Asuman Muhumuza following the conclusion of investigations by the Police and the Director of Public Prosecutions and they have since then been waiting from prison to be charged formally before the High Court.
According to the evidence and investigations that Uganda Radio Network is privy to, the Prosecution contends that in 2021, the country was gripped by a series of bomb attacks committed by unknown assailants and that the attacks appeared to be indiscriminate, which instilled fear and panic in the public. The State says that those behind the attacks had the sole intention of discrediting the government.
The evidence shows that on October 25th, 2021, a suicide bomber aboard a Swift Bus detonated an improvised explosive device (IED), killing himself and injuring other passengers at Lungala within Mpigi District. The deceased, Isaac Matovu alias Muzafaru alias Musilamu, resided in a rented room belonging to the key suspect, Sharif Kiyemba in Lweza Kajanjasi along the Entebbe Highway, who remains at large.
Preliminary investigations led to the arrest of some suspects found in possession of an IED allegedly given to them by their co-accused. Additionally, five women implicated in the case are accused of aiding, harboring, financing, and supporting Kiyemba to prepare or commit acts of terrorism.
The evidence further reveals that Ismail Kiyemba admitted to making IEDs, including the one used by the deceased suicide bomber, and confirmed that Sharif Kiyemba had contracted him to create a bomb with greater capacity 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 evidence further shows that the greater capacity bomb was to be used in March 2022 when the situation calmed down because now Kiyemba was afraid as Police had started hunting for him. The state further indicates that they have sufficient evidence in the form of call data and phone records showing that all the accused persons were in constant communication with the three suicide bombers.
These include Isaac Matovu who blew himself up in a swift bus, Uthman Mansur who killed himself at CPS Kampala and Abudallah Wanjusi who blew up himself at the IPS building where scores of people were injured and several others were killed on November 16th, 2021.
The committal papers signed by Thomas Jatiko, the Assistant Director of Public Prosecutions show the state intends to use police reports indicating that survivors were treated for injuries caused by pieces of fragments, postmortem reports indicating that the deceased died of explosive objects produced by the suspects.
Jatiko says that various exhibits, such as telephone handsets, flash discs, DVDs, CDs, chemicals, electronic components, and more, were recovered from Kiyemba’s possession and submitted for examination and analysis to be used as evidence in the trial.