Kampala- Nine in every 10 suspects arrested and prosecuted in the seven high-profile terrorism and murder cases over the past decade have been Muslims, an analysis on court records shows.
Last week, the former Security minister, Lt Gen Henry Tumukunde, told Daily Monitor that Muslims should not be targeted for the rising crime in the country or in connection to threats posed by Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) rebels.
Following this caution, this newspaper reviewed court records to check the credibility of the claim.
Seven major criminal cases involving violent murder and terrorism were reviewed.
About 85 per cent of the suspects in the cases are Muslims and others are of other religions.
The sampled cases included; Jamil Mukulu (ADF rebel leader currently at pre-trial stage), 2010 Kampala twin terror bombings, murder of Andrew Felix Kaweesi (former police spokesperson) and Susan Magara who was kidnapped and murdered in February this year after her parents paid a Shs700m ransom.
Other cases included murder of Maj Muhammad Kiggundu, assassination of Muslim leaders between 2013 and 2015 and a terrorism case that was recently dismissed by court.
Last month, police and the military raided a mosque near Usafi Market in Kampala and arrested several Muslims whom they alleged were engaged in training children in radicalism, human trafficking and hiding Magara killers.
Hajj Nsereko Mutumba, the head of communication and information at Uganda Muslim Supreme Council, welcomed Lt Gen Tumukunde’s caution but wondered why he did not raise the same concerns while he was still minister.
“Tumukunde’s torch-light into criminalisation of Muslims is very welcome. It is true we have been marginalised, but my question to Tumukunde is, was he genuine? I am asking this because it would have been better for him to have raised these issues when he was the Security minister,” Hajj Mutumba said yesterday.
President Museveni dropped Gen Tumukunde from Cabinet in March.
Hajj Mutumba also rejected explanation of the police spokesperson, Mr Emilian Kayima, who said on NTV, a sister outlet of Daily Monitor, last week that in criminal law, they follow dots and whoever is found in that path is prosecuted.
“But if Mr Kayima is saying they follow dots in criminal law, why is it that majority of the arrested Muslims are acquitted by court due to lack of evidence?” he asked.
Hajj Mutumba also said Muslims are also victims of a wider marginalisation in sharing top government jobs. He claimed there are only three Muslim judges out of the 77 who form the Supreme Court, Court of Appeal and the High Court.
Hajj Mutumba also noted that out of the 121 chief administrative officers, only six are Muslims.
He further claimed out of 121 Resident District Commissioners, only eight are Muslims. These claims could not be independently verified.
While reacting to Lt Gen Tumukunde’s comments last week, the army spokesperson, Brig Richard Karemire, said security does not target anyone on account of their religion.
Human rights lawyer Ladislaus Rwakafuuzi last week asked other government officials to openly to denounce “victimisation” of Muslims and end injustice.
“Tumukunde is a top spy who is saying we should not target a certain group of people as this makes crime look easy and yet it is not,” he said by telephone.
High-profile cases involving Muslims
1. Suspects in Jamil Mukulu case: Ali Kabambwe, Salim Ali Yahaya, Musa Muku Donchu, Adam Diin Bashiri, Sheikh Rashid Ahmed Wasigu, CPL Martin Alex Engwau, Sgt John Owori, Sheikh Badiru Ibrahim Wanjala, Adam Amisi, Abdul-Malik Kabale, Muzahamu Ndifuna, Ibrahim Kyessa, Yakubu Kyessa, Muhamadi Muruta, Abdallah Waniala, Abdu Swabul Kimbugwe, Muhammad Afan Mbuya, Sophie Nambozo, Jamil Mukulu, Mohammad Kiryagaana, Fahad Muyaga Aburahamani, Muhamed Matovu, Omar Abdullah Mutuka, Abdu Rashid Kalange, Shiekh Swaluhudin Baligeya, Bashir Mwanda, Sowedi Amiisi, Zaidi Kambo, Musa Kaala, Mansuudi Kisambira, Issa Kayira, Hassan Wasswa, Abdallah Kirwani, Daniel Wanyama, Abdul Ddungu, Robert Wandera, Umayiya Kikomeko, Aggrey Kiyingi. Out of the 39 suspects, 33 are Muslims (pre-trial ongoing)
2.Suspects in dismissed terrorism case: (Sixteen out of the 19 suspects were acquitted recently by the High Court for lack of evidence) The freed suspects are; Aisha Nakasibante, Hakim Kinene Muswaswa, Muzamilu Kasawuli, Arafat Serunjoji, Alex Okot, Olanya Joseph, Okidi Charles, Pte Arajab Mubaje, Matanda Issa, Byamukama Abdul Ratif, Ssemwogerere Asadu, Kibirige Solomon, Wadwali Safiyi, Yusuf Sentamu, Muhamad Kolodo, Ssentogo Ismail and Abonga Nick Frank. Amir Kinene and Sheikh Murta Bukenya were not freed because they are convicts in the Muslim clerics assassination case. Fourteen are Muslims and five non-Muslims
3.Convicts in 2010 Kampala terror bombings
The convicts are; Hassan Luyima, Suleiman Hajjir Nyamandondo, Ahmed Luyima, Hussein Hassan Agad, Idris Magondu, Habib Suleiman Njoroge and Muhammed Ali Muhamed, Muzafaru Luyima. Five suspects were acquitted for lack of incriminating evidence though re-arrested and they include; Ismail Kalule, Abubakari Batemyetto, Omar Awadh Omar, Yahya Suleiman Mbuthia and Mohamed Hamid Suleiman. All the 13 are Muslims
4. Muslim clerics assassination case: Mohammed Yunus Kamoga, Sheikh Siraje Kawooya, Sheikh Murta Mudde Bukenya, and Sheikh Fahad Kalungi, Kakande Yusufu and Sekayaja Abdulsalam. Those acquitted of all counts in the same case for lack evidence were; Amir Kinene, his brother Hakeem Kinene, Abdul Rashid Sematimba, Hamza Kasirye, Twaha Sekitto, Rashid Jingo, Musa Isa Mubiru and Yiga George William. Thirteen Muslims and one non-Muslim.
5.Suspects in Andrew Felix Kaweesi murder case: Abdu-Rashid Mbaziira, Aramanzan Noordin Higenyi, Yusuf Mugerwa, Bruhan Balyejjusa, Umar Maganda, Ahamada Senfuka, Hassan Tusiime, Ibrahim Kissa, Osman Mohamed Omarite, Hamidu Magambo, Abdu Majid, Joshua Kyambadde, Sheikh Musa Ntende, Shafique Kasujja, Abdala Kaala, Sinani Hibwagi, Ali Mugoya, Asuman Mugoya, Swalleh Ddamulira, Sauda Ayub, Yusuf Nyanzi and Jibril Kalyango. Twenty-one Muslims, one non-Muslim (case still ongoing)
6. Susan Magara suspects: Patrick Kasaija, Yusuf Lubega, Hussein Wasswa, Muzamiru Ssali, Hajara Nakandi, Abubaker Kyewolwa, Mahad Kasalita, Hassan Kato Miiro and Ismail Bukenya. Eight are Muslims, one non-Muslim (case still ongoing).
7. Maj Muhammad Kiggundu suspects: Former acting Tabliq leader Yahaya Mwanje, Musa Ssekandi alias Masanafu, Muhammad Buyondo alias Matia and Abdul Wahaab Sendegeya. All the suspects are Muslims (case still ongoing)
Joan Kagezi case: Some suspects were arrested but were never charged in court. They were held and interrogated by security but released without prosecution.