A Uganda People's Defence Forces (UPDF) soldier, who lost his left arm during an operation to apprehend suspects linked to the murder of Susan Magara has recounted the gruesome events before the High court.
Magara, a cashier at Bwendeiro Diary was kidnapped for $1 million ransom on February 7, 2018, and eventually killed. Her body was found on February 28, 2018, dumped in Kigo, Wakiso district. Nine suspects including Abas Buvumbo, Yusuf Lubega, Hussein Wasswa, Muzamiru Ssali, Hassan Kato Miiro, Hajara Nakandi, Abubaker Kyewolwa, Mahad Kasalita, and Ismail Bukenya are facing trial in the High court over Magala's kidnap and murder.
Yesterday Monday Sgt Suudi Isabirye from the Chieftaincy of Military Intelligence (CMI), appeared in court presided over by justice Alex Mackay Ajiji and recounted the events of February 22, 2018. He stated that he received orders from his superiors to reinforce police at Usafi Mosque during an operation. He explained that while there, someone emerged from the Mosque, shouting "Allah Akbar," before severing his hand.
He said he immediately lost consciousness and woke up in a hospital a week later, finding his arm missing. He admitted to not seeing the person who cut off his arm and also couldn't identify any of the nine suspects currently on trial.
Following Isabirye's testimony, the prosecution presented detective Lawrence Kayondo, a forensic officer with the Uganda Police Force, as its 12th witness. Kayondo provided photographic evidence, including images of the Toyota Rav 4 vehicle used in Magara's kidnapping, two fingers severed from Magara before her murder, a memory card containing a video clip, and mobile phones allegedly used by the kidnappers to demand ransom.
The prosecution based on the evidence presented, contends that the nine suspects kidnapped and murdered Magara on February 7, 2018. Magara's family allegedly paid Shs 700 million as ransom to secure her release, but the kidnappers still murdered her.
Prosecution evidence indicates that the accused laid out a grant plan targeting affluent individuals and their family members, with Magara becoming the first victim of their ransom-driven kidnappings. The investigation revealed that Magara was abducted in Lungujja and held captive for three weeks while negotiations for a $1 million ransom took place with her family.
Police recovered various exhibits, such as land titles and vehicles, purchased using the ransom money. The investigation also uncovered that Magara overheard conversations involving Hajara Nakandi's visitors while captive.
Fearing exposure, the suspects allegedly convened at Usafi Mosque and decided to suffocate Magara with a polythene bag to prevent her from revealing their identities. Court sessions, where photography of witnesses is prohibited, continue today Tuesday.