Entebbe women murder trial stalls over judge’s absence

Suspect: Ivan Katongole

The trial of three people accused of complicity in the murder of a number of women in Entebbe yesterday hit a snag over the absence of trial judge, Wilson Kwesiga. When the case came up for further hearing, the judge’s clerk informed the parties in the matter that the judge was indisposed and that the case had been rescheduled for January 16. The accused include businessman Ivan Katongole alias Jenus, who was dealing in the export of fish.

Others are Andrew Kizito, a bar owner and Hellen Nabaggala, a cousin of the late Rose Nakimuli. The accused have spent a year on remand at Kigo Prisons. So far, three witnesses have testified against the accused. Prosecution witness Anatoli Ndyabagera, who was Nakimuli’s husband, on Wednesday said the deceased used to frequent Kizito’s bar.

Nakimuli is among the 23 women who were brutally murdered. Her killers also inserted sticks into their victims’ private parts. The wave of murders caused an outcry among the public, including President Yoweri Museveni, who vowed to capture the culprits.

Ndyabagera, 54, told court that he got to know about his wife’s death through one Brian at about 8:00am on July 24, 2017. He gave the evidence under the guidance of state attorney Baston Baguma. “On the morning of July 24, 2017, I received a phone call from Brian, who asked me to urgently rush to Kitala since I had slept at my second home in Kiwafu. On arrival, I saw a number of people standing at the roadside, while others had already flooded my home. I realised there was a problem,” Ndyabagera narrates.

He added:

“I was shown a female body lying half-naked in the bush. Police officers asked me whether I could recognise the deceased, whom I confirmed to be my wife.” Ndyabagera said following the incident,

He requested one of the accused, Harriet Nabaggala, to inform the family about the death, but she told him she had lost the contact.

“After the burial, other relatives expressed suspicion that Nabaggala could have had a hand in my wife’s death,” he testified.

During cross-examination by defence lawyers Caleb Alaka, Evans Ochieng, Peter Wanda and Francis Katabalwa, Ndyabagera confirmed to court that his wife had a misunderstanding with Nabaggala.

Police testimony

Assistant Superintendent of Police Joseph Ssekitoleko informed court that he visited the scene and found a stick had been inserted into the victim’s private parts. Ssekitoleko testified that he got to know about the incident from Police Constable Jacob Baroro, who informed him that there were reports of a body that had been dumped in a bush at Kitala.

Assistant Inspector of Police Charles Ndabagutse told court that:

“I impounded Katongole’s vehicles number UY 802B and UAX 318M because I was told they were used in the transportation of the deceased. I submitted them to the Government Analytical Laboratory for forensic analysis.’’

But, during cross-examination, Ndabagutse said although he forwarded the vehicles for analysis, he does not know the results. Prosecution alleges that on July 24, 2017, while in Kitala LC1 zone in Katabi town council, Wakiso district, the accused and others still at large killed Nakimuli.

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Lukwago Joseph grew up in a newspaper family, and rumor has it that instead of playing the guitar in his infancy, his parents put a reporter’s notebook and a pen next to him shortly after he turned born eight years. Before becoming editor of UGANDANZ, Lukwago was a parliament news editor for WBS TV. He joined UGANDANZ in July 2018, A few months after the company launched. Lukwago also spent five years as a freelance reporter, where he covered reporting for the highest bidder, intelligence, foreign policy, and Ugandan police. Lukwago graduated from Makerere University in 2008 with a B.A. in Journalism and worked on his college newspaper.