On February 1, 2015, after months of covert security surveillance, a joint team of counter terrorism crack units from UPDF and intelligence organisations cordoned off a mosque and two primary schools in Busia, Eastern Uganda.
It was alleged the Marikaz mosque in Arubaine town owned by the Salaf Muslims and two primary schools, one in Sofia village and another in Maranchi village, were recruitment hubs for the terrorist Allied Democratic Forces (ADF).
Wielding automatic rifles, commandos stormed the premises where suspected ADF personnel were put at gunpoint and ordered them to surrender or face fire.
“Freeze; don’t move,” the heavily-armed commandos shouted as they smashed door of schools and raided compounds.
Wearing bullet-proof jackets, the crack units had rehearsed the operation in preparation for possible room to room battles with suspected militants.
At least 34 suspects were detained in the remarkable security operation in Busia Town.
Mr Julius Gobolo, the Busia District Police Commander who headed the operation, confirmed the arrest of the suspects.
He said the operation was “based on information that some ADF rebel returnees were hiding there.”
At the schools, said Gobolo, teachers were training pupils in martial arts in preparation for tougher tasks ahead.
Security officials would later screen the suspects, leading to the detention of 11 suspected ADF agents on Friday, Feb 1, 2015. The rest were released on police bond.
The next Monday, Feb 4, 2015, experienced field intelligence officers travelled from Kampala to interrogate the ADF suspects detained in Mbale.
On reaching the police station, the Kampala team was informed that only 10 suspects were in custody.
“You had eleven suspects. What happened?” one of the officers asked DPC Gobolo.
Gobolo said the 11th suspect was requested by a one Sadiq Ali Mugisha and Police ‘Special Operations’ boss Nickson Agasirwe, who is currently detained at Luzira Prison over kidnap.
“They said the suspect was being taken to Kampala Police Headquarters for further management,” Gobolo was quoted as saying.
On closer scrutiny, it was discovered that Omar Abdallah Matuka, the most wanted ADF operations commander and close associate of the outfit’s supreme leader, Jamil Mukulu, had been removed from Busia police station by Nickson.
At the time, Nickson worked closely with Sadiq, a car business dealer in Busia and friend of Mufti Ramathan Mubajje.
By the time security contacted Nickson, Matuka could not be traced. This left security in shock.
Interestingly, one week later, Matuka was arrested by Tanzanian security operatives alongside Jamil Mukulu. Both were extradited to Uganda on charges of terrorism, murder and treason.
ChimpReports understands that while Nickson is in jail for facilitating the kidnap of Lt Joel Mutabazi, the former bodyguard of President Paul Kagame, intelligence organs suspect he was an ADF agent.
“There is reason to believe Nickson worked with or was used as an agent of ADF,” said a highly placed source in security, adding, “He never fully explained why he picked Matuka from jail in Busia before the terrorist escaped back to Tanzania.”
Until his arrest, Nickson was a hugely feared police officer.
He was accused of gross human rights violations, accusations he vehemently denies.
With ADF being suspected of killing former prosecutor Joan Kagezi and Muslim clerics in Uganda, intelligence organs believe Nickson has information that could aid in the investigations.
While some of his co-accused have been released from detention, Nickson is yet to be freed.
His pleas for bail continue to fall on deaf ears.
Officials briefed about Nickson’s woes say the investigation into his alleged criminal activities continues.
“Who had the interest in saving Matuka? It’s ADF. And Nickson signed for his release from detention. Why? Whose interests was he serving?” asked an official, who preferred anonymity to speak freely.
By keeping Nickson in jail a little longer, investigators hope to have obtained more information pinning him in several acts of terrorism.