The Police have intensified the hunt for Lwengo district councillor, Abdu Kabugo, over the alleged kidnap of his daughter, Zaharah Nakafeero, 16, a Senior Two student at Kirimya Vocational Secondary School in Masaka. Nakafeero went missing from the school on November 23, last year.
The southern regional Police spokesperson, Lameck Kigozi, said they have bought charges of giving false information at the Police against Kabugo.
Last year, Kabugo reported to Masaka Central Police Station that his daughter had been kidnapped by unknown people, who initially demanded sh11m.
Kabugo, who is the proprietor of Kirimya Vocational Secondary School, later convened a press conference, claiming that his daughter had been killed after he failed to deliver the sh11m on time. Kabugo, while shedding tears, said the kidnappers later demanded sh5m to reveal where the dead body had been dumped.
“I received a phone call from an unknown number and the caller told me that my daughter iwas dead,” he said.
Kabugo who had earlier approached State House for financial support, told residents that he had secured sh5m to give to the kidnapers so that he could bury his daughter. The kidnappers then allegedly ordered Kabugo to take the money to Kabaka Anjagala in Mengo, Kampala. According to Kabugo, the thugs later told him to hand over the cash via mobile money.
A joint operation to look for the culprits and Nakafeero’s body was then launched by the Police and other security personnel. The Police then received phone recordings from Nakafeero’s mother, Margaret Nabulya, who said they were aware of the whereabouts of their daughter.
“You people have gone too far and created unnecessary alarm in the media. My daughter is in safe hands. I even talked to her,” Nabuya said in a telephone conversation with the school bursar, Tony Ssegawa, a relative of Kabugo.
We later learnt that the Police found Nakafeero her relatives at Kireka in Kampala. Police sources told New Vision that Nakafeero’s boyfriend was forced to send her to her relatives in Kampala to disassociate himself from the case. Kigozi said Police investigations indicated that Kabugo did not receive any calls on the day he claimed that the thugs had killed his daughter.
“The so-called callers Kabugo talked about never existed, it was a hoax. The mobile phone printout did not reflect any calls at the time Kabugo claimed he received the call from the thugs demanding sh5m to show him where they had dumped the body,” Kigozi said.
He added that the Police got suspicious by the falsehoods around Kabugo’s statements and his mobile phone links with the said kidnappers. Nakafeero was picked up by the Police from Kireka last week to assist in the investigations. She reunited with her father on Sunday.
Meanwhile, the matter sparked off a conflict between the Police and other security agencies, prompting a closed security meeting with the Masaka Resident District Commissioner, Herman Ssentongo. Ssentongo said he had received complaints against Kabugo from his relatives.
Efforts to reach Kabugo had proved futile by press time. He had earlier told our blog that he was going to organize prayers and a party for Nakafeero at his home in Ndagwe, Lwengo.