Hours before President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni made an admission in a televised New Year’s speech that the former national boxing captain, Isaac Ssenyange alias Mando Zebra, was killed by government security personnel, a team from the Special Forces Command (SFC) had reviewed CCTV footage and concluded that the deceased was murdered in a botched security operation.
Ssenyange was killed in the wee hours of Wednesday morning about 40 metres from his home in St. Francis Zone, Bwaise III Parish, Kawempe Division, in Kampala.
With more accusing fingers being pointed at the security agencies, Museveni assigned a team of intelligence officers under the SFC to review the footage capture by both the police security cameras and private CCTV cameras mounted on buildings in the area. The footage showed that Zebra’s killers were about 12 operatives dressed in black uniforms similar to those used by the Joint Anti-Terrorism Task Force (JATT) or Counter-Terrorism (CT).
They were driven to the area in two vans commonly known as drones without number plates, a source at the Kampala Central Police Station intimated to Uganda Radio Network, an independent news agency based in Kampala.
The CCTV footage further shows the armed men taking over major and minor routes including corridors leading to St. Francis zone in Bwaise III parish. Having watched the footage, the SFC intelligence team concluded that it was not an ordinary murder but a botched security operation.
“They came here and they looked at the CCTV footage. They immediately concluded the vehicle belonged to a military security agency. They went and briefed the President that is why he has come out to admit,” said the source.
Museveni in his end of year address yesterday, said when he heard the unfortunate death of Ssenyange, who was also working for the Uganda Boxing Federation, he telephoned the wife who narrated to him the events in detail.
The president said Ssenyange was an NRM supporter, and was mobilising for the party. Ssenyange, according to Museveni, was also training many youths in the ghetto and giving them hope in the search for a meaningful life.
“Indeed, Zebra was meant to come and see me when he was killed. Zebra’s wife told me people in police uniform came to pick Zebra but he jumped over the wall and could have met another group who shot him. At first, I thought they were thugs disguising in uniform, but as I continued investigations, I found out that Zebra was killed by security personnel,” said Museveni.
The president said Ssenyange’s killing was sad and devastating. The President apologized on behalf of security personnel and vowed to keep on the case and would bring every finding to the knowledge of his family and the murderers will be dealt with accordingly.
A source added that Ssenyange was shot nine times and some bullets were found stuck in metallic poles near the murder scene. Witnesses told URN that the killers did not know Ssenyange but went looking for him using a photo.
According to Eric Kakooza, a resident of Bwaise, Ssenyange attempted to escape after his killers knocked on the door to his house. Kakooza said unfortunately Ssenyange took the route that ended prematurely and he turned back with his hands raised as a sign to surrender. But his killers shot at him soon as he confirmed he was called Zebra Ssenyange.
“Ssenyange jumped over a wall and scaled over another. Unfortunately, the route ended and he came back. They asked him “are you Zebra’ and he said yes. He was then shot dead,” Kakooza narrated.
A senior police source said the gun captured in the CCTV footage and bullet casings recovered from the scene indicate that it was not an ordinary police unit that has such guns.
Ssenyange’s fellow boxer and friend Robert Mukasa commonly known as Sojja Man (soldier man) was reportedly also taken by the killers. There have been rumours that he too was murdered and body dumped near Bombo military barracks. However, police say they haven’t discovered anybody suspected to be that of Mukasa.