Cops arrested in failed Muslim cleric assassination


Uganda counterterrorism police on duty

Pauline Ahimbisibwe, the Officer in charge of Nakaloke Police post in Mbale and 15 other officers are in detention for alleged negligence of duty following a botched attempt on the life of another Muslim cleric there.

The officers were arrested on Tuesday evening on the orders of Haruna Isabirye, the Director of Operations Uganda Police Force.

Police has declined to reveal the identities of the other officers, 13 of whom have been suspended.

The station has been taken over by John Tumwebaze as those arrested wait to be taken to Standard Investigations Unit in Kireka.

The arrest of the officers follows an attempt on the life of Sheikh Asadi Mujasi, the Wamula Islamic Center in Nakaloke trading center on Monday by two gunmen.

Sheikh Mujasi says he hid in a corner and saw the men walking to the Banana plantation at his home.

He said when he made an alarm, they fired at him and run off.

After searching the nearby banana plantation, they recovered a police uniform and a civilian shirt.

He says they identified the shirt as that belonging to Abubakar Were, a boda boda rider and resident of the area.

They immediately notified Police, which reportedly picked up Were from his home.

He reportedly confessed to have transported Abdu Mgalani, another resident of the area to the Sheikh’s home to kill him.

The duo is being held at Mbale Central Police Station.

Isabirye accused the area Police leadership of laxity and negligence prompting him to order the arrest of all officers at Nakaloke police post.

He immediately deployed 30 other Police officers with strict instructions to ensure security and peace of the area paramount.

“Directives were given to provide security of the area. There was laxity of police at that point on that day [when the attack happened]. They were no policemen and action has already been taken on officers who were responsible for that. I have changed all of them from that particular station. I have put there other people with specific instructions to ensure that they do what we have directed them to do”, Isabirye said.

According to Isabirye, the 16 police officers are currently being held at Police Special Investigations unit in Kireka to face the police disciplinary committee.

Sheikh Mujasi is the brother to the late Sheikh Abdul Rashid Wafula, former Imam of Bilal Mosque in Mbale town who was gunned down by unidentified gunmen on 21st May 2015 outside him home in Kireka central cell in Nakaloke town council.

Imam Wafula was the director of Nakaloke Islamic Primary School and Secondary School in Mbale District.

On December 28, last year, Sheikh Mustafa Bahiga was shot dead at the Bwebajja Mosque on Entebbe road.

Sheikh Bahiga’s death came barely two days after Sheikh Dr Abdul Kadir Muwaya; the Shiite leader was gunned down at his home in Mayuge district.

Sheikh Abdul Karim Ssentamu and Hajj Abubaker Kiweewa who were in 2012 gunned down by unknown assailants in different locations in the city.

The inspector general of Police, Gen Kale Kayihura linked the killings of the Muslim clerics to the ADF rebel activities.


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