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Uganda: Police raid Kampala mosque, arrest 18

28th Dec 2016
Uganda: Police raid Kampala mosque, arrest 18

By Halima Athumani

 

KAMPALA, Uganda (AA):- Uganda Police has confirmed the arrest of 18 people found at Nakasero mosque during an early morning raid in central Kampala on Tuesday.

Speaking to journalists, a police spokesperson for the Kampala Metropolitan area, Emiliano Kayiima confirmed the search operation carried out by police and other security agencies.

“We got information that there is a link between the Muslim clerics who have been killed and the suspects that are in police custody and that the suspects were connected to the criminal activities in this particular mosque.”

According to Kayiima, the successful 6:00 a.m. operation netted 18 suspects and the Police recovered, “Three machine guns, 138 rounds of ammunitions, 20 video tapes, one bow and seven arrows and two knives.”

He added, “We also got documents that we think have credible information that would point to the criminal activities that have been happening and will guide us in our investigations.”

In November a top army official Major Kiggundu Muhammed was assassinated by unknown gunmen. In response, the Police arrested Sheikh Yahaya Mwanje, the Tabliq leader of Nakasero mosque over comments he allegedly made regarding Maj. Kiggundu.

Mwanje had replaced Sheikh Yunus Kamoga who is also facing a murder trial before the High Court in connection to several murder cases of Muslim clerics who were gunned down in the last four years.

Regarding the suspects, Kayiima stated, “We have them in our detention facilities.. Those that will be found innocent will walk to their freedom. Those that the intelligence will link to criminal activities shall be investigated further.”

Meanwhile, Sheikh Suleiman Kakeeto, the head of the Tabliq sect in Uganda, pleaded, “We humbly request from the government to produce the suspects before court and declare the charges so that the public knows what they are being held for.”

The Muslims at the mosque insist the raid took place at 1:00 a.m. though the police said it was during day time.

According to Mr Habib Buwembo, one of the spokespersons at Nakasero, the officers broke into the mosque offices and picked up computers and vital documents.

He said 11 of their colleagues who were guarding the Mosque were also arrested and taken to unknown locations.
“During their operation, they vandalized items that include documents and computers. Six motorcycles and Shs50 million for the ongoing construction of Ummah house are also missing. About 11 of our colleagues who were guarding the Mosque were also taken. When we reported the matter at Kampala Central Police Station, we were told that the operation was an order from above and therefore, there’s nothing much they would do to help us,” said Mr Buwembo.

Kakeeto told journalists that the Police did not explain why they broke into the mosque. “They keep coming in the night yet they would not have been stopped from accessing the mosque as long as they explained why they had to get in.”

But Kayiima justified the Police action saying, “When you get information related to terror attacks, when you lose time you have lost it all. So you don’t need a search warrant.”

Additional reporting from Daily Monitor

[Map of Uganda. Creative Commons]

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