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Finishing off Kayihura

Finishing off Kayihura – And the hunt for Crime Preventers’ boss

Kampala, Uganda | HAGGAI MATSIKO | The noose around besieged former Inspector of Police Kale Kayihura continues to tighten as a joint Internal Security Organisation (ISO) and Chieftaincy of Military Intelligence (CMI) operation pursues more of his close associates.

The latest target is Blaise Kamugisha, the former National Coordinator of the National Crime Preventers Forum (NCPF). This is the same man who, in a March 28 meeting of President Yoweri Museveni and coordinators of crime preventers from all over country, pledged his loyalty to the president.

Now, reliable sources have told The Independent that Kamugisha ran to exile last week on Thursday, after a tip-off that ISO and CMI operatives were closing in on him. He fled to Kenya.

Insiders say while in Kenya, Kamugisha contacted President Museveni who advised him to return to Uganda. By press time, The Independent had learnt that Kamugisha had returned but then again went into hiding unsure if he can survive the clutches of ISO – that is he cannot feel safe unless and until he meets Museveni directly.

In March, Kamugisha stunned the nation when he said: “We take it on ourselves to protect the president and help him keep his country safe… We can kill for the president”.

Until now Kayihura, who remains half-way between military detention and house arrest, has only been interrogated once since his arrest on June 13. And the only charge that has been read to him is that of allegedly murdering the former Assistant Inspector General of Police (AIGP) Andrew Felix Kaweesi on March 17, 2017.

It is clear that investigations around the police chief continue to take that definite shape. But Kamugisha’s involvement signals another more political case forming against Kayihura.

Given that Kayihura was the main benefactor of the crime preventers, whose numbers he personally put at 11 million, it is clear to see how any suspected rebel activity by the group can easily be connected to him.

Kamugisha was a close Kayihura associate and had been given the lucrative billion shilling deal of supplying food to the police force. Now, state media report that this contract is part of the investigations government is conducting linking Crime Preventers with plans to organize a rebel group.

Kamugisha joins two other Kayihura associates who have fled imminent arrest. Kiyihura’s former personal assistant, Jonathan Baroza, whom he had dispatched as an attaché to Algeria, went missing in transit in when he was summoned back to Kampala.

Insiders say Baroza had been expected to return to Uganda but disappeared at an airport in Istanbul, Turkey, where he was supposed to connect to Entebbe. According to the passenger manifest, Baroza boarded the plane in Istanbul bound for Entebbe. A large contingent of police and security officers were deployed at the airport to arrest him as soon as the plane landed. But when the plane landed at Entebbe, Baroza was not on board.

Baroza became a controversial figure when one of his bodyguards was spotted at the Kaweesi murder scene. It was alleged that this bodyguard and later Baroza himself were tampering with the scene of crime to erase evidence since they had not been assigned the case and were not in the forensics department.

However, sources familiar with the Kaweesi murder case say Baroza was at the scene because he was in charge of witness protection and was that day providing cover to some witnesses, who had been given the white overalls—forensics uniform—to disguise who they were so as to prevent them from being targeted by those behind the murder.

But even senior police officers like AIGP Fred Yiga, who was at the scene of crime, appear not to have had this detail. So they ended up clashing with Baroza and concluding that he was trying to tamper with the scene of crime.

Whatever the case, Baroza’s disappearing act follows that of another Kayihura ally, Amos Ngabirano, the former police director of Information and Communication Technology (ICT). Ngabirano went missing immediately trouble started unfolding and his whereabouts remain unknown.

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