Police forced us to confess to killing woman, brothers claim

Kampala. One of the brothers, who police said had confessed to the killing of a 17-year-old girl in Entebbe last year, claims he was framed by operatives working for the police and had the confessions fabricated against him.

The body of Norah Wanyana, 17, who was a student of Air Force Secondary School in Entebbe Municipality, was recovered on July 20, 2017.

This was at the height of a spate in which bodies of about 40 women were found dumped in different places of the country, mostly within Wakiso and Kampala districts.

Mr Ibrahim Jjingo, boda boda rider in Entebbe, says he was arrested by operatives of the police’s Flying Squad Unit (FSU) after his younger brother, Muhammad Ssebaduka, had been arrested and tortured over the killing of Wanyana.

Mr Jjingo says he lived with his brother in his house before the arrest, but that their relationship got strained after Mr Ssebaduka was used by police operatives to fabricate a confession against him.

What police said
Mr Asan Kasingye, who was police spokesperson at the time, told this newspaper that the duo had confessed to the killing of Wanyana and had consequently been remanded.

When contacted for a comment on the matter, police spokesperson Emilian Kayima said: “First, torture is not our method of work, and any statements obtained as a result of torture are not admissible in courts of law.

All cases are heard on the strength of evidence adduced and this evidence collected by the police is studied and appreciated by the DPP.”

Mr Jjingo now says the police also manipulated the media by saying that he had also confessed to the crime whereas he at all times, during the torture and detention, denied the charges levelled against him. He maintains there is no record of him acquiescing to the killing.

Ibrahim Jjingo narrates ordeal

The ordeal. “My brother left the house to go and ride his motorcycle as he did every day. He left me home with my wife because I don’t leave early for work. That day, I left at around 10am and as I approached Central Trading Centre, I met a very big crowd that had gathered around.

I didn’t pay much attention because I imagined they had caught a thief and lynched him or people were fighting. I was later told it was a girl who had been killed and the police had already cordoned off the scene-of-crime.

When I dropped my passenger at Abayita Ababiri, I picked two other passengers returning to Kisembi. On my way back to Central Trading Centre, I passed my brother riding in the opposite direction carrying a passenger.

Brother arrested.

As I went about my business in Kisembi, people who knew me called out, “Musilamu, haven’t you gone to save your brother?” I asked them what I had to save my brother from and I was told he had been arrested.

When they told me why my brother had been arrested, I simply told them that the police were very strict and I fear them.

My brother had said that he knew the girl who had been killed and that she had been his regular customer. That is when plain-clothed operatives, who had mingled with the residents, picked him up. They impounded his motorcycle against the pleas of the residents around, insisting that he knew something about the killing.

FSU comes in. 

When he reached Entebbe Police Station, the Flying Squad Unit (FSU) operatives whisked him away at around 7pm. I called to inform my relatives of what had happened.

At Katwe Police Station, the FSU operatives started beating and torturing him to confess his role in the killing of the women. When the beatings and torture failed, they became nice and promised my brother a motorcycle, money, a plot of land and ‘a good life’.

They promised him that he would be integrated into the intelligence services, be given a gun and uniform to work for government and also be trained if he confessed.

The operatives asked him to cooperate with them for mutual benefit. They gave him food and after asked him about the people he knew that could help him get out of his predicament. It is at this point that he mentioned my name.

The operatives convinced my brother that he was a minor and that he should pin me as the killer to get all the benefits they had promised him.

“When we get there, just say he is the one who killed and we release you. We shall remain with him and release you. That you moved with him and he killed the girl and inserted a stick in her private parts and when you asked him why he did it, say he said the girl had eaten his money and that is why he decided to kill her,” Jjingo says his brother would tell him later.

I had my motorcycle, the one they took and a house I had just built. I suspect that when he thought of gaining control of those things, he must have been swayed to accuse me. Also, we had had some disagreements and these I suspect fuelled the whole thing.

Jingo arrest. The FSU operatives stormed my house at around 3am driving a Toyota Noah car without registration number plates. They did not have an arrest or search warrant or even display any police badges.

I actually first thought they were the people killing women and they had come for mine. They were about 10 armed men and they ordered me not to make any noise or notify anyone.

They slapped me and after subduing me, they pulled my brother out of the car and brought him into the house. He was in handcuffs with his head covered.

They unveiled him and then asked me, “Musilamu, do you know this person? I said, I knew him; he is my brother and lives here in my house. They slapped my young brother and one asked him to repeat what they said he told them.

Forced confession. They searched my house and stole my money and other personal effects. They handcuffed me and then went for the boy (my brother). A man slapped him thrice at the back of the head requiring him to say what he had been told. After the third slap, he was crying and started narrating.

“He (referring to me) told me let’s go and kill this girl. When we got there, we killed her and put a stick through her (private parts). I asked him why and he said that she ate a lot of his money and that is why he put a stick through her private parts.”

I felt cold, my head felt so big. I wanted to die. I wanted the land to open and swallow me. I kept quiet for some time and they asked me: “Musilamu, have you heard those words? Now put your hands (to be handcuffed) and we go.”

I begged them to let me first dress up. When I picked my kanzu (tunic), they refused and insisted I put on pair of trousers and a shirt.

They pushed me into the car. Inside the car, there were a few seats but one thing stood out. There was a big metallic case with every tool you can imagine – harmers, axle blades, pangas, nails, pliers, small axes and hoes.

Torture begins. We set off, and as we moved, some smoked weed, others shouted at me. The beating started almost immediately when I was put in the car. They had small metallic pipes, which they used to hit my knees. My arms were tied behind my back, leaving my chest and legs exposed.

For the entire journey, I fixed my eyes on my brother because I couldn’t believe what was happening. I imagined some mischief was going on because a normal Ssebaduka would not say the things he had just said. As we approached the Abayita Ababari abattoir near the market, there were some traders who had brought their sweet potatoes to sell.

The commander in the car ordered the driver to stop near the men waiting beside their truck. One unlucky man who did not run was arrested. The other operatives begged their boss to let the man go but their pleas fell on deaf ears.

They put the man in the car and in the morning at Katwe Police Station, they claimed that he had also killed a woman.

“It is at that point that I realised that these were fake arrests. They just arrest and then forge some charges against you.
At Katwe Police Station. At Katwe Police Station, I was made to sleep in the toilet of the cell. In the morning, I was undressed and the beatings started, using poles and pangas.

In the room, there was a recorder and all they required of me was to say ‘Yes, I know that case’ and the beatings would stop. They would beat me demanding I say “yes” to be forgiven.
The beating and interrogation was conducted by three men and one woman. The woman was using the panga, while another man used the metallic poles on my knees. My hands were tied, I could not even touch where they were beating.

The beatings went on for at least three hours but seemed like an eternity, with just one demand that I accept their allegations. They removed me from the interrogation room and took me back to the cell.

I could not walk. When I got back to the cell, the inmates told me that this was just the beginning. They showed me some of those who had been beaten and all could not walk but were just lying there. They beat and then keep you in the cells for at least three weeks as the cold cement floor of the cell soothes you.

In the tiny cell, we were about 40 inmates and those of us who had been beaten were about 10. The following day, I was picked from the cell and the beatings continued.
The Nalufenya curse. Meanwhile, my brother would occasionally be picked and taken to Nalufenya and after sometime, he would be brought back.

I told them; “you kaffirs, that you are Faiswal Katende, Ibrahim, how can you torture me and then stand on the swafa and pray?”

After three days, we were dragged with my brother to a Toyota Corona car and taken to Entebbe. As we approached Namulanda on Entebbe Road, that man, Faiswal Katende, asked my brother: “Younger, what are you going to say when we get there? My brother kept quiet and when he did, Katende turned the car towards Kampala and said let us go back and I will beat you until you remember what you have to say.” As he turned, my brother said he still remembers what he has to say.

“Do you still remember? I was just going to drop you there but now I have to make sure I leave after you have made the statement. You are going to make it in my presence,” Katende turned and told my brother.

Extortion? Then he turned to me and asked: “Musilamu, what are you going to do to get out of this situation?”

I thought about the motorcycle I had in the house and the fact that the only language these men understand is money. May be we should go and pick the motorcycle and bring it to Katwe so that it is sold and the proceeds go to them given we had not yet recorded statements.

I, however, decided against it. These men are kaffirs and con artists. I endured the sun and rain to raise money to buy this motorcycle, why should I give them my motorcycle for these stupid things?

“I told him Afande, you brought this issue as a cloth to my house and you dressed me with it. Only you know how to remove it from me.”

He laughed and when we got to Abayita Ababiri Police Post, he dropped me in the police cells there and continued with my brother to Entebbe Police Station.

At Entebbe Police, my brother recorded a statement accepting that we had killed the girl. The statement was recorded on video and this was circulated to friendly journalists. The media used my brother’s words and instead reported using my name as the person who had confessed and my rejection of the allegations was never reported.

I have since discovered that police officers at Abayita Ababiri connived with the Flying Squad Unit operatives to blackmail me. There is no way the operatives would have forced my brother to confess if there was no motive.

After like an hour, I was picked from Abayita Ababiri and taken to Entebbe Police Station after my brother had been made to record his statement. At the police, I was examined and tests conducted. They did not find anything that connected me to the girl.

In my statement, I maintained I was innocent and did not know what they were talking about. I have lived in this area for 15 years but I had never met or talked to that girl.
Sent to prison.

 I spent the next three weeks at Entebbe Police Station. Then we were produced in court and formally charged. I was sent to Kigo, while my brother was taken to the remand home in Naguru. When we next met in court after one month, he was also sent to Kigo.

They had injected him with funny chemicals during the interrogation and so he kept fainting. The liquids they injected him with were green and I don’t know if they are what affected his brain.

At Kigo, the police operatives followed him, they would bring him sugar, bread and other needs while we struggled.

Release. Last month, a magistrate had pity on us after we had over appeared in court and asked if we could produce sureties to get bail. When we presented them, she asked us to pay Shs2.5m each for bail and our sureties Shs5m non-cash. I paid my bail and the magistrate released my brother too, even though he did not pay. It is by the grace of God that we got out.”

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