Ritual cleansing, domestic disputes and land conflicts could have fueled a spate of mysterious killings in parts of Katabi Town Council and Nansana Municipality, Wakiso district.
In a preliminary statement presented to parliament, Internal Affairs Minister Gen. Jeje Odongo said that police investigation currently points to the three as the motives behind the wave.
A total of 21 women were gruesomely killed between May 3 and September 4, 2017. Their bodies reportedly had signs of manual strangulation while others had sticks inserted in their private parts.
“In the case of Nansana Municipality murders, eight of the nine women were murdered by the same criminal gang for ritual purposes,” Gen Jeje said.
He explained that the prime suspect, a one Ibrahim Kaweesa alias Tetemwa who had just been released after serving a ten-year jail sentence, confessed that he had been hired by a businessman identified as Phillip Tumuhimbise to kill 12 women to enable the businessman to draw human blood for ritual performance to enhance his wealth.
According to Odongo, Kaweesa led police in the reconstruction of all the eight murder scenes demonstrating his participation and that of his associates.
Odongo added that technical evidence and witness testimonies from Katabi Town Council point to one serial killer identified as Ivan Katongole alias Jenus, also a businessman.
“Credible witnesses have indicated he is the mastermind behind these killings, contracting people and actually participating. His motive being for ritual purposes to get human blood and body parts in order to build his wealth, including his commercial buildings under construction at Kasenyi Landing Site,” said Odongo.
The minister said that police has evidence linking the suspects and businessman Katongole.
Minister Odongo told Parliament that 44 suspects linked to the murders have been arrested so far with 22 charged in courts of law. He says that the remaining suspects are at different stages of processing, also to be arraigned in courts of law soon.
However, several legislators contested the government statement with some pointing the murders to a boiling conflict. Kumi Woman MP Monica Amoding said that the nature of the murders sends a message which government has failed to explain to the country.
“Are you in charge of the internal affairs of this country? Is this not something that can be associated with conflict? Is this not a conflict starting up in this country?” Amoding questioned.
She added that attribution of the murders to rituals was too simplistic.
Nakasongola Woman MP Margaret Komuhangi also ruled out the murders being made for purposes of rituals saying that the gender committee of parliament had investigated cases of human sacrifice and it was never reported that rape is involved in cases of sacrifice.
Kyadondo East MP Robert Kyagulanyi said that the killings represent a bigger problem in the country which needs urgent attention. He said that government must not wait for the problem to escalate to try and act.
The Leader of Opposition Winnie Kiiza said that the police do not seem to be taking stock of the numerous killings in the country adding that other groups of people have been killed in the country with nothing to report about.
Prime Minister Dr Ruhakana Rugunda acknowledged that police was not perfect in its work but hastened to add that tangible progress has been made in investigating the notorious killings.