Common Trend Cited in Muslim Clerics Shootings

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In short
Appearing as the fourth prosecution witness in a case in which 14 people are facing trial for masterminding attacks against senior Muslim clerics across the country, Dr Moses Byaruhanga told court that the killers were at a close range of 100cm or less.

A pathologist has told the ongoing trial before the International Crimes Division of the High Court that two murdered Muslim Sheiks; Ibrahim Hassan Kirya and Mustafa Bahiga were shot at close range by their assailants.

Dr Moses Byaruhanga, also the director of health service in the Police Force, told court that the killers were at a close range of 100cm or less and that the cause of their death was due to multiple gunshot injuries sustained around the chest areas.

Dr Byaruhanga was appearing as the fourth prosecution witness in a case in which 14 people are facing trial for masterminding attacks against senior Muslim clerics across the country.

Those on trial include the leader of the Tabliq Sect; Sheikh Yunus Kamoga, Sheikh Siraj Kawooya, Sekayanja Abdulsalaam alias Kassim Mulumba, Sematimba Abdulhamid Mubiru, Jingo Rashid, Sekitto Twaha, Kakande Yusuf alias Abdallah and Sheikh Murta Mudde Bukenya.

Others are Hakim Kinene Muswaswa, Amir Kinene, Sheikh Kalungi Fahad, Hamuza Kasirye, Musa Issa Mubiru and Iga George William alias Hamuza.

Dr Byaruhanga told court that given the direction of the injuries inflicted on Sheikh Bahiga, his assailants confronted him from the front. He added that each of the murdered Sheikhs was sprayed with three bullets into their bodies, showing a common trend of criminality.

Sheikh Bahiga was gunned down by two assailants riding on a bodaboda on the night of December 28, 2014 at Bwebajja Mosque located along Kampala-Entebbe highway. Likewise, Sheikh Kirya was gunned down on June 30 2015 at Bweyogerere, a Kampala suburb.

Dr Byaruhanga told court that the guns used in the attacks were of high velocity, meaning that the chances of the deceased surviving were very minimal in our Ugandan medical setting.

During the same court session, defense lawyer Fred Muwema accused Dr Byaruhanga of not possessing a practicing license, authorizing him carry out postmortem examinations on dead bodies. Muwema showed the witness the website of Uganda Medical Council to show that Dr Byaruhanga's name is not on the current list.

But in response, Dr Byaruhanga insisted that he has the practicing license.

According to an amended charge sheet, the 14 suspects and others still at large are accused of indiscriminately involving themselves in the attempted murder or attack on Ssonko Najib, Bahiga Mustapha, Umar Swadiq, Ibrahim Hassan Kirya, Mahamood Kibaate, Haruna Jemba and Omulangira Kassim Nakibinge.

Prosecution also alleges that the acts of the above persons caused the unlawful death of Sheikh Bahiga who was shot dead at Bwebajja along Entebbe Road; Sheikh Abdulkdir Muwaya, who was shot in Mayuge District and Sheikh Hassan Kirya, who was killed in Bweyogerere, Wakiso.

The crimes were allegedly committed between December 2013 and June 2015 in Kampala, Wakiso and Mayuge districts.

Hearing of the case continues on Thursday.