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Former Flying Squad boss Muhangi, Col Ndahura charged

FILE PHOTO: Police officers in the dock at the General Court Martial in Makindye last Oct. 27. 

Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Herbert Muhangi, the former Commandant of the Police Flying Squad and five other senior police officers have been charged for failure to protect war materials, aiding and abetting kidnaps in Uganda. The six appeared before the Makindye based General Court Martial Chaired by Lt. Gen. Andrew Gutti on Tuesday afternoon.

The others are Col. Atwooki Ndahura, the former Director Crime Intelligence Uganda Police Force, Nixon Agasirwe, the former Commander Special Operations, Patrick Muramira, the former Deputy Commandants Special Operations, Richard Ndaboine, the former Deputy Commandants Special Operations, Jonas Ayebaza and Abel Kitagenda Muyomba, both formerly attached to Flying Squad.

The group is jointly charged with Gen. Edward Kale Kayihura, the former Inspector General of Police. Prosecution alleges that between 2012 and 2016 the accused persons by omission and commission aided and abetted the actions without hindrance to kidnap and illegally repatriated Rwandan exiles, refugees and Ugandan citizens to Rwanda.

Some of the kidnap victims include Lt Joel Mutabazi, a former bodyguard to Rwandan president, Paul Kagame, Jackson Karemera alias Ndinga and Sergeant Innocent Kalisa. On the count of failure to protect war materials, prosecution alleges that between 2010 and 2018 the accused failed to supervise and ensure accountability for t arms and ammunition issued to specialized units under the office of the Inspector General of Police including the Flying Squad Unit, the Specialized Operations Unit, the Witness Protection Unit and Crime Intelligence Directorate of Uganda Police Force.

The group is accused of issuing firearms to unauthorized persons specifically members of Boda Boda 2010 led by Abdullah Kitatta. The accused persons pleaded not guilty to the charges and were remanded until February 11th, 2019 when they will return for the mention of the charges. Apart from General Kayihura, all the accused were in court. They had earlier only protested being charged in the absence of their lawyers.

However, the Court Martial chairperson, Lt Gen. Andrew Gutti assigned Captain Charles Ssekayita and Siena Owomugisha to represent them on state briefs on behalf of their private lawyers. General Kayihura and Agasirwe were charged in the same court in 2017 and 2018 with the same charges.

Today, prosecution tabled an amended charge sheet putting all the suspects together. Kitatta, who is accused of illegally accessing firearms, is also battling charges of illegal possession of firearms and military hardware before the same court. The accused persons were arrested in June 2018 from various places in Uganda and have been in military detention since then.

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