Ahmed Wetaka in Mbale
Sheikh Hassan Ibrahim Kirya, the spokesperson of the Kibuli Muslim group was shot dead in Kampala, Uganda on June 30. Kirya was shot by two gunmen riding on a motorcycle at around 11pm when he stopped to buy groceries at a stall below the Kireka flyover on the Northern bypass.
The gunmen also shot a turn man in a truck that was parked near Kirya’s vehicle as they fled from the scene. Both Kirya and the turn boy whose identity hasn’t been released yet were rushed to Mulago National Referral Hospital.
Kirya was pronounced dead on arrival while the turn man is still in critical condition. Fred Enanga, the Police spokesperson said Kirya was returning from Tarawih [Ramadan night] prayers from the newly built mosque at Ring road when he was shot.
According to Police sources, prior to his shooting Kirya met with some friends at Kireka and decided to drop his bodyguard at Kireka Police barracks before heading home. Kirya joins the list other Muslim leaders who have been shot in the recent past.
Last month, Sheikh Rashid Wafula, the former Imam Bilal Mosque and Director of Nakaloke Islamic primary and secondary school in Mbale was also gunned down outside his home under similar circumstances. Others who were shot dead in the past include Dr. Abdul Qadir Muwaya, the top Shia scholar, Mustafa Bahiga, the Kampala District Amir and Sheikh Abdul Karim Ssentamu.
Sheikh Kirya was born in June 1966 to the late Haji Hassan Wasswa Ssesanga and Hajjat Noor Nakayiza of Nakawa, Kampala.
Kirya attended Entebbe Quran School, Kireka UMEA, Bilal Islamic School in Bwaise after which he went to Sudan, from where he completed higher studies in Islam.
In 2000, Hassan Kirya became the head of the Ugandan branch of Munazzamat al-Da’wa al-Islamiyya, an international religious organization based in the Sudanese capital Khartoum, that aims at spreading Islam.
In 2006, alongside with others, Sheikh Kirya broke ranks with the mainstream Muslim leadership based in Old Kampala over the sale of Muslim properties and formed the Kibuli Muslim faction.
Shekh Kirya is survived by three wives and several children.