Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Police Constable Ivan Wabwire who shot and killed a money lender was mentally ill, according to the Uganda Police.
Wabwire killed Uttam Bhandari on Friday inside Rajja Chambers along Parliament Avenue in Kampala.
Patrick Onyango, the Kampala Metropolitan Police Spokesperson, says that Wabwire was diagnosed with a mental condition six years ago. According to Onyango, a decision was taken not to deploy him with a gun. Onyango added that the force has been deploying him in areas where he does not need a weapon.
“Due to the suspect’s medical condition, Police management at CPS Kampala had taken a decision about six years ago not to arm the suspect with a gun and they have been deploying him in beats that do require him to be armed. His current deployment was at a CCTV monitoring center,” Onyango said.
Police have said Wabwire used his colleague’s gun Police Constable Steven Mulambo to commit the crime. He took the chance of sharing a room with a colleague because of limited accommodation and illegally picked the rifle which he used to kill Bhandari.
“Due to limited accommodation, the suspect was sharing a house with a fellow police officer. His housemate had worked at night and didn’t return the gun to the armory instead he went with it to their house shortly, he got a call that his child was sick, he rushed to go and check on the child leaving the gun behind,” Onyango explained.
The police’s explanation came minutes after, President Yoweri Museveni, had raised six questions the police force must answer in response to Wabwire’s shooting of Bhandari. First, Museveni wondered how the off-duty policeman accessed the gun.
Museveni also asked if Wabwire was on duty, and how he left his guard station to go and commit the crime without immediate supervisor’s notice. Museveni also questioned the rationale of keeping guards at police stations.
“How are the guns stored in the Police? Is there no security at the site where the victim was?” Museveni said via Twitter. Why did that local security allow an armed person into the building who had no guard business there? Then, there is the question of the mental state of this Policeman. Did he have a history of mental instability? If he had, why hadn’t the Police leadership noticed and acted appropriately? Museveni asked.
Onyango has said they are searching for Wabwire who disappeared after committing the crime. The CCTV footage retrieved from Rajja Chambers clearly shows how the suspect shot the victim.
The video shows Wabwire and Bhandari in an argument before the shooting incident happened. Onyango said the CCTV footage is very useful evidence during the trial.
“The suspect Wabwire took that advantage, got the gun, and went and misused it by shooting Uttam. His roommate Mulambo who signed for the gun has been arrested and detained at Kireka,” Onyango said.