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Mbarara: Rwandan Businessman Gets 20 Years in Jail Over Acid Attack

A Rwandan national was on Thursday sentenced by a court in Mbarara to 20 years in jail for attacking a local politician with acid.

Mbarara Chief Magistrate Miriam Okello Ayo sentenced 28year Geoffrey Ssali, a resident of Bukoto in Nakawa Division, Kampala after pleading guilty to pouring acid onto the LC5 councilor for Nyamityobora ward in Kakoba division, Mbarara Municipality.

The victim, Councilor Amos Katureebe was walking home on November 8th last year when Ssali reportedly approached him and poured the abrasive liquid in his face. He was rushed to Mayanja Memorial Hospital and later transferred to Mengo Hospital where he is admitted to date.

In the aftermath, four people including Mbarara Municipality Speaker Bony Tashobya Karusya were arrested to help with the investigations.

Mr Ssali, a Rwandan National confessed to the attempted murder charges, telling court that he worked with the other suspects on the plan to murder the councilor, but failed on several attempts to fulfill it.

He says they later zeroed on using acid, which they bought and tested on a lizard to ensure in was corrosive enough.

According to prosecution, Ssali on November 8th at 8:30 PM travelled on a bodaboda together with his accomplices toyhe  victims’ house and waylaid him.

When he arrived, one of the assailants called out his name and when he came to see who was calling, Ssali emerged and poured a jug of acid on his face.

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Ssali admitted to the crime, saying he didn’t even know the person he attacked.

“After committing the offence, I took myself to police. I pray for a lighter sentence,” he pleaded.

He also asked to be incarcerated in Kampala because he feared he could be hurt in Prison Mbarara.

“I also ask the magistrate to consider the two months I have spent on remand in Nalufenya; I have children and a wife and I developed health problems while on remand.

His lawyer Peter Kabagambe pleaded for a lighter sentence, him being a first offender, but the state asked for a deterrent sentence because the crime was premeditated.

The Magistrate in the end handed a 20 year sentence to Ssali, condemning his brutality and mercilessness.

His co-accused pleaded not guilty and were remanded until February 14th and Ssali is expected to testify against them.

Meanwhile the victim Amos Katureebe remains hospitalized at Mulago.

At the time he was burnt, he was slated to testify before Justice Catherine Bamugemerire’s land commission on the Kenkombe municipality land which was allegedly sold by the municipality speaker.

Bamugemerire, who was in Mbarara at the time, stopped her work and visited his family in Nyamityobora.

Later on in January the judge once again checked on the victim at Mulago and paid Shs 28 million to help with his treatment.

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