Police in Rakai district are once again searching for the husband of a woman who was allegedly hacked to death and eaten on March 23, 2014. The husband Deus Bandihihi was the key witness against 13 people accused of cannibalism. URN has learnt from the Bandihihi's relatives that he has been missing from his father's home in Kazinga Village, Kyarurangira Sub-County for three months now.
URN has learnt from the Bandihihi's relatives that he has been missing from his father's home in Kazinga Village, Kyarurangira Sub-County for three months now.
Bandihihi is said to have spent one and half months camped at Masaka Police Station for his own protection before he decided to go back to his parents' home. He spent there a few weeks before he disappeared.
Taban Chiriga, the Rakai Criminal Investigations and Intelligence Officer, confirmed his disappearance saying he has been missing since February 2015.
Chiriga says police has been trying to track him down since.
Milton Baryamukyabu is Bandihihi's uncle. He says that Bandihihi returned to the village in fear for his life. Baryamukyabu says Bandihihi was unhappy because police had not provided him enough protection yet he was the sole witness. He hopes police can track him to disprove fears he may have been killed.
The 13 suspects in the cannibalism case were released on bail by Masaka High Court in October 2014.
He explains that a delay in receiving a report and exhibits in the case from Kampala requested in November 2014 led to a delay in the case. The exhibits finally arrived in January 2015 and the suspects are expected to reappear in court May 25, 2015.
The suspects are Asafu Tumuhimbise (50), Bosco Ssegirinya (59), Alex Ssebala (20), Aloyisius Kasujja (15), Mike Kabito (24), Ronald Ssebufu (25), Peregirino Mpozza (54) and Alex Ssemyalo (29) had been arrested in connection with the murder of Peace Arinaitwe Kyomukama (21) and her nine-month-old baby Kamuniini.
Others are Ramka Kaweesa (52), Ismail Ssekyanzi (42), Jovulet Nuwagaba (38), Elimerida Nalubega (46) and Anna Maria Nabukenya all charged with murder and attempted murder under CRB-RKI 474/14.
Kyomukama is reported to have been killed with her baby at Kyakirugu village in Kyalulangira Sub-county, Rakai district on March 23, 2014. She had stopped with her husband for shelter at Tumuhimbise's home when she was allegedly killed, chopped up and eaten by the suspects.
Bandihihi claimed to have witnessed the incident.
Bakibinga said the first three suspects Mpoza Peregrina (53), Rameka Kaweesa (62) and Aloysius Kasujja (15), were released on bail on 15th August 2014 by Justice Kibuuka Musoke of Masaka High Court due to their poor health and Kasujja for being a minor.
The rest were released in October by Justice Margret Oumo Oguli after six months elapsed without trial.
There have been several attempts to kill the sole witness Bandihihi. The first attempt was during Bandihihi's stay in a lodge in Rakai town council following the incident. The second time was while he was admitted in Rakai hospital where he had been rushed for treatment after escaping the first attack.
Unknown assailants stormed and attempted to strangle him in his room before he raised an alarm that brought other occupants rushing to his aid.
Following the subsequent episodes, Kooki-County MP Amos Mandela took Bandihihi in his safe custody. Bandihihi then sought refuge at Masaka Police station before going back to his parents' home.
However, Asaf Tumuhimbise and wife Jovulet Nuwagaba, both key suspects in the case say they are leaving in fear after residents threatened to lynch them.
They say that they have nowhere to stay because residents destroyed his house, plantations and livestock. They are forced to live with relatives in different communities.
Chiriga, the Rakai CIID boss, says police is on high alert to prevent the community from attacking the suspects.
He also says police will continue to search for Bandihihi.