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Mystery of the woman killed with Afande Kirumira

Resty Mbabazi was in touch with Mohammed Kirumira just before his assassination. She died with him.

CRIME | As news filtered in that senior police officer Mohammed Kirumira had been gunned down near his home in Bulenga Saturday evening, it kept coming with the collateral victim in a woman.

Save for Muslim clerics, other top officials gunned down over the last few years in the country were with bodyguards. Maj Mohammed Kiggundu, AIGP Andrew Felix Kaweesi, MP Ibrahim Abiriga… the only other square peg in the round hole was State Attorney Joan Kagezi–it is widely held by the public court that she was a mistaken identity victim.

But Afande Kirumira, as the affable and vocal cop was widely known, was with a woman. At first, news filtering in said it was his wife. The sources named the victim as his sister-in-law, before it changed to his second wife Mariam Kirumira.

However, Police later clarified that she was none of these. The former Assistant Superintendent of Police who terrified hardcore criminals in Nansana and Old Kampala jurisdictions before his fallout with the powers-that-be in the Police saw him spirited off to Buyende District, was with a woman whose identity Police said they were not disclosing at the moment.

“We have since established that the lady assassinated along with ASP Kirumira is not his wife. The wife wasn’t with him at the time. We’ve identified the lady and interacted with her family. We shall withhold releasing her name in the meantime,” Police said.

Whether it is the family of the collateral damage victim that asked Police to stay naming their daughter or a decision formed by wider investigations into the assassination of a top cop remains to be seen. However, the fact that Kirumira was heading to his home and met with mystery woman points to a fact that she was known to Kirumira, source said.

Resty Mbabazi (some sources named her as Resty Nalinya) became the collateral damage in the assassination. As investigators dig into the latest assassination of a high profile cop, they are likely to try piecing together information regarding Mbabazi and how she came into contact with Kirumira just before his assassination.

Some witnesses at the scene have said that Mbabazi had just got into Kirumira’s car parked near Musoke Road in Bulenga when bullets rang out from armed men riding on a boda boda.

Investigators will probably interest themselves in whether Mbabazi was a bait that had Kirumira stop on the road and get exposed so much despite being aware of being trailed by suspicious characters.

According to witnesses, Kirumira had stopped to buy airtime from a kiosk and had just returned to his car, a Toyota Corona UAJ 228V, when bullets rained on his car.

Bullet trajectory suggests that the killers shot from the driver’s side, with at least five bullets piercing through the door to find their target.

In the event that Mbabazi was the bait in getting Kirumira, then his phone records could tell more about their interaction leading to her presence in his car. Just how much was she in touch with Kirumira during his evening and what were they discussing?

Could Mbabazi have been just an innocent victim at the wrong place at the wrong time? Is there a possibility that she was merely meeting Kirumira but it happened at a time the killers had already made their final move on their target?

His last hours

According to Police sources, Kirumira was a guest at Maj Galabuza Musisi’s introduction ceremony in Kawuku, Entebbe. Musisi is one of the people Kirumira met before his assassination and it is possible that he could have noticed if something was amiss or if the late intimated about being trailed by suspicious persons.

Kirumira appears to have been conscious of his security since openly declaring war on “weevils” in the system. He offered to testify and provide evidence in the prosecution of officers suspected to be rogue in the wake of several arrests of top cops, including former IGP Kale Kayihura and his close allies.

“If you talk, you will be killed, if you don’t talk, you still will be killed. Better to talk then,” Kirumira had once quipped when responding to media questions on his outspokenness.

He obviously was aware that he was a marked man. And followed by suspicious persons. Yet he appeared not to be moved. In a recent interview with NTV, he said said: “If correcting the image of Police requires some of us to be sacrificed, my burial place is in Mpigi. That is where people can take my body.”

And in Mpigi on Sunday afternoon, Kirumira’s body will be lowed to his final resting place. God had decided it was his time to go as he had ominously put it to journalists hours earlier. “I’m still here with you until God decides [to take],” he had said.

On the fateful day, Kirumira also called on the media fraternity at their leadership elections in Old Kampala where he advised journalists on dedication to their job.

His security

That Kirumira was a marked man is not in doubt. He had spoken against some of the most powerful people in the land. Yet there are still questions from the public on just how much was done for the security of Kirumira once he came out to expose the rot in the Police.

For instance, a state attorney posted on Facebook that they believed Kirumira was betrayed by somebody (or people) very powerful within the system.

“He was given a false confidence and assurance that, if he came out and exposed his detractors and the ‘bad’ guys in the Police Force, he’d be protected and ‘they’ would be gotten rid of in a cleanup of the institution then described by the President as “rotten” and “full of criminal elements,” the attorney said.

“This explains why he came out so openly and so loudly (some say “recklessly” and even “arrogantly”) against the ‘weevils’ in the Police Force. The arrest of Senior cops that followed was a manifestation of the actualization of this theory.

“He was probably one of those lined up to testify as a witness in the many charges lined up against ‘the weevils’ (as the criminal Policemen came to be called). Certainly, Kirumira became a marked man, for possibly elimination for his stance, viewed as ‘betrayal’ by some of the suspects.”

However, this news website understands that Kirumira met with President Museveni twice–once before the sacking of Gen Kayihura and once more after–but that on both occasions, he had declined offers of extra security around him saying Allah would protect him.

President Museveni visited the scene of the assassination on Saturday evening and interacted with some witnesses. In a statement later, he saluted some boda boda operators who he said had given chase to the killers until they lost tract of them around Mile 9.

The president, who said there were four suspects riding on boda boda, Sunday morning chaired a security meeting and said the state would “stop these pigs by not just relying on the old police methods.”

“Pending the installing of cameras etc everywhere, we are going to re-activate the Luweero methods to deal with these cowardly pigs. Wait for my announcement this afternoon,” Museveni said. He is due to address the nation starting at 8pm.

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