Crime & InvestigationSpecial Reports

INVESTIGATION: Intelligence Failure Behind Kampala Bombings; Kagezi Murder

On August 5, information pills 2010, thumb Issa Luyima, 38, was walking the streets of Nairobi when a tinted van carrying heavily-armed counter terrorism forces screeched to a halt.

The black-clad commandos burst out of the van before streaming into the streets screaming, “Police, put your hands in the air.”

In a blink of an eye, three more vehicles carrying soldiers arrived at the scene.

Luyima was bundled onto a waiting truck that drove off at break-neck speed to Jomo Kenyatta International Airport.

An unmarked plane would later deliver Luyima at Entebbe Airbase – right in the hands of the men who were searching for him – dead or alive – two months after the Kampala bombings in which over 79 people died.

All leads had pointed to Luyima as the mastermind of the Kampala carnage.

Intelligence failure

Highly placed security sources said before the Nairobi incident, Luyima had already been arrested in Kenya on allegations of belonging to the Al Shabaab terrorist movement.


“’A year before the Kampala attacks, Luyima was arrested in Nairobi by Kenya’s intelligence. So, through Interpol, Luyima was sent here with Kenyans saying, ‘that man is Alshabaab. Don’t allow him to move around freely,’” a security official told ChimpReports’ Investigations Desk on Tuesday morning.

“On arrival here, Luyima was mishandled by police. They did not interrogate him thoroughly. We heard that money allegedly exchanged hands and the guy returned to the streets,” the source recounted.

“By failing to quiz and obtain important information on his connections with Al Shabaab, Uganda police missed vital clues that would have thwarted the attacks.”

The source went ahead to claim that proper interrogation would have revealed Luyima’s contacts and financial records thus busting the terrorist cells or racket.

“This was an intelligence failure.”

World over, countries struggle to obtain refined intelligence information on security threats.

For example it took United States ten years to capture Osama Bin Laden who was responsible for the 9/11 attacks. The better part of the leads were fake.

But for Uganda, it was a case of poor handling of a prime terrorism suspect.

“Police took this matter as an Immigration issue and not a case of security. The failure of security agencies to coordinate and share intelligence cost the country precious lives. Luyima was briefly demoted in his rank by Al Shabaab after his arrest,” a source who was conversant with the investigations, narrated.

Having missed important clues, Ugandan security services embarked on the hunt for the terrorists.

The ring leaders were eventually arrested and paraded by the military intelligence under then Brigadier (now Major General) James Mugira.

CMI’s operations commander Capt. Charles Asiimwe (now Major and deployed in Central African Republic) is said to have organized a team of experts who scrutinized the phone printouts of all the suspects before their arrest.

Presented with overwhelming evidence, the suspects would later confirm their participation in the bombings.

It’s this precious evidence that Justice Owiny Dollo relied on to convict the terrorism suspects last week – a big victory for investigators and murdered deputy Director of Public Prosecution, Joan Kagezi.

Kagezi assassination

The cost of police’s inaction in handling Luyima’s case should have been a good lesson to the law enforcement body.

One would have expected that police would now start taking important leads seriously. This was not the case.

ChimpReports has learned that a few months before the prosecutor in the terror suspects’ case, Joan Kagezi was shot dead in the Kampala suburb of Kiwatule, intelligence had been informed of the plot to eliminate her.

“There was another intelligence failure,” said our prominent source. “Kagezi would be alive today had police taken very seriously the threats against Kagezi. There was information that she was wanted dead. On the day she was shot, Kagezi did not have bodyguards.”

Following Kagezi’s shooting by unknown men who were riding a motorcycle; Gen Kayihura confirmed that Kagezi was being trailed.

“There was a boda which was seen frequenting Kagezi’s residence almost on a daily basis. Some people would pretend as if they were dropping someone in the neighborhood. This lasted several weeks but due to lack of a crime prevention system, no one took interest in this matter,” said Kayihura in a meeting with Kiwatule locals after the murder.

“The people riding a motorcycle were always monitoring and studying her area of residence. The killers carefully laid their plot before its execution. If you don’t take keen interest in protecting your lives, the murderers will finish you off,” Kayihura warned.

“You see, if this U-Save supermarket had CCTV cameras pointed to the main road, we would have seen Kagezi’s killers as they passed on this Kiwatule road towards Najjera. In London, most CCTV cameras are bought by individuals but incorporated in government security systems.”

A separate contact says Kayihura knew security threats that Kagezi faced as she was in charge of prosecuting the terror suspects.

“Police are mandated to detect crime before it happens and prevent it. If all this fails, you curtail. Up to now no one knows who Kagezi killers are. No one knows who ordered the shooting because the same person could order for more shootings.”

Yet, police are yet to arrest even one suspect in Kagezi’s murder.

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