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Petrol bomb trial of 32 NUP supporters flops again

Gutti moved case hearing to March 29, 2022. File Photo

Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | The hearing of the case in which 32 supporters of the National Unity Platform-NUP are accused of being in illegal possession of explosive devices has again failed to start at the General Court Martial in Makindye due to the absence of three suspects.

The accused are: Yasin Ssekitoleko alias Machete, Robert Christopher Rugumayo, Ronald Mayiga, Muhydin Kakooza, Patrick Mwase, Simon Kijambo, Abdu Matovu, Richard Nyombi, Olivia Lutaaya, Ronald Kijambo, Sharif Kalanzi, Joseph Muwonge, Mesach Kiwanuka, Abdallah Kintu, Umar Emma Kato and Musa Kavuma.

Others are Ibrahim Wandera, Asbert Nagwere, Steven Musakulu, Jimmy Galukande, Paul Muwanguzi, Kenneth Kamanya, Sharif Matovu, Shafiq Ngobi, Davis Mafabi, Abdallah Hakim Gibusiwa, Livingstone Katushabe Kigozi, Swaibu Katabi, Obalai Siraji Mudebo, Joseph Muganza and Stanley Lwanga.

The group and others at large are accused of being in illegal possession of 13 pieces of explosive devices which are the monopoly of the defense forces. The prosecutors allege that the crimes were committed between November 2020 and May 2021, in areas of Jinja, Mbale, Kireka, Nakulabye, Kawempe, Natete, and Kampala Central.

On Monday, the trial failed to kick off because only two suspects were absent, Swaibu Katabi and Muhydin Kakooza who were respectively sick and taken for a mental examination after he (Kakooza) shouted at the Court Martial Chairperson Lt General Andrew Gutti in the previous session demanding to be released.

However, the matter was adjourned to Tuesday by the Court Martial chairperson Lt General Gutti to enable the trial kick-off in their presence.

But when the matter came up, another suspect Olivia Lutaaya was absent. The court was told by prisons officers that Lutaaya was delayed on the way from Kigo prison while Katabi was sick.

As a result, the prosecutors led by Lt Col Raphael Mugisha asked the trial to pause as they wait for Lutaaya to arrive.

The defense lawyers including George Musisi and Abdullah Kiwanuka informed court that before they proceed to the trial, they need to first resolve the issue of the mental status of Kakooza and the bail application filed a month ago on behalf of the suspects.

They also tasked the court to order the prisons officers to show proof that their clients are sick because they believe that they are not being brought to court as a tactic to delay the trial and justice.

The case was adjourned to March 29, 2022 to hear the bail application as they also wait for the mental examination report on Kakooza.

The suspects were accused of plotting to carry out petrol bomb attacks targeting government vehicles and buildings in various places in the country.

Police claimed that the suspects masterminded attacks on Kasubi Royal Tombs, former Jinja Resident City Commissioner Eric Sakwa in Nakulabye, Uganda Registration Services Bureau, and Katwe police station among others.

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