A senior police officer, testifying in court, has stated that the number of murder cases in Rubanda district has noticeably decreased since the arrest of five murder suspects in 2020.
Two of these suspects were sentenced to five years in prison in 2020 after admitting to murder charges. Before their conviction, all five were accused of causing the death of a resident named Semu Twinomujuni by using a firearm typically used only by the defense forces. The crime was alleged to have occurred around August 2019 in Kibugo cell in Rubanda.
The firearm used in the incident was identified as an SMG rifle with the serial number UGZ0100019779, engraved as UP POL 563617886. Three individuals—Valence Bakebuza (26), Alex Byanzi (29), and Police Constable John Peter Odongo—are still on trial.
The two individuals who were convicted are Simeo Aryatuha (27) and Enock Tumwesigye (37). AIP Joyce Mburagina, the head of the Child and Family Protection Unit at Rwampara Central Police Station, led the operation that resulted in the arrest of these five suspects.
Mburagina testified as a witness before the General Court Martial, chaired by Brig. Gen. Robert Freeman Mugabe, on September 28. She stated, “Ever since the suspects’ and convicts’ arrest, murder-related cases have reduced in the district [Rubanda].” However, specific percentages of the crime rate before and after the arrests were not provided.
Mburagina explained that the majority of residents in the area are Irish potato farmers who tend to have more money during harvest season, making them vulnerable to criminal attacks. She suggested that this trend has diminished since the arrests.
When questioned by the defense team about how the arrests contributed to the reduction in crime, Mburagina clarified that she did not claim that the suspects were responsible for the murders but simply brought the matter to the court’s attention.
This testimony followed an ultimatum by court chairman Mugabe, who gave the state three weeks to complete investigations or risk having the case dismissed. The defense team had raised concerns that their clients had spent three years on remand without trial.
Under Ugandan law, murder is a serious offense, and conviction carries a maximum sentence of death. The case involving the three remaining suspects is scheduled for further hearing on October 24.