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Trial of Bukomansimbi Murder Suspects Stalls over Threats Against Witnesses

Richard Birivumbuka, the Masaka Resident Chief State Attorney told the court that three of the principal witnesses have notified him of the imminent threats on their lives from the suspect’s family and pleaded for security before they can testify in the matter.
Musa Galiwango Looking at Committal Papers in Masaka court
The trial of Musa Ggaliwango, the key suspect in the wave of murders and robberies that occurred in Masaka in 2018, has suffered a stalemate due to threats against the state witnesses. 

Ggaliwango is one of the two suspects who in March 2018 escaped from the Masaka Chief Magistrate Court while they had been brought for mention of charges of murder and aggravated robberies that were committed in Bukomansimbi, Masaka, and Lwengo district. 

He fled alongside his accomplice Muhammad Kiddawalime who was later killed by a mob in a foiled robbery attempt in Kalungu District. Following his re-arrest in April 2018, Ggaliwango has been on remand at Luzira Maximum prison until last week, when the state preferred to resume his trial before the Masaka High Court.

His three other accomplices; Innocent Nakabaale, Joseph Tetuteesa, and Godfrey Lubega were on Friday presented before Masaka High Court presided over by Lady Justice Anna Bitature Mugenyi. But their trial did not commence after the state witnesses raised security concerns over their lives before they declined to testify in court.

Richard Birivumbuka, the Masaka Resident Chief State Attorney told the court that three of the principal witnesses have notified him of the imminent threats on their lives from the suspect’s family and pleaded for security before they can testify in the matter.

He said that although the state was ready to sustain the prosecution after it obtained enough evidence and witnesses, he does not want to take risk of compromising on the safety of the state witnesses. 

Birivumbuka requested the court to adjourn the trial of the suspects, and prepare a special arrangement under which the witnesses will freely give their testimonies without fear. 

Justice Mugenyi ruled that hearing of the case should delay until the safety of the witnesses is provided.  The judge ruled that she was adjourning the hearing to a later date which she said will be communicated to the parties.    
According to the charge sheet on the court record, the suspects are charged with several offenses of robbery and murder, which include among the others killing of a retired Senior Superintendent of Police Denis Lumala Ssebugwawo and four other members of his family after thugs raided their home in Bukomansimbi district on the new year’s eve of 2018. 

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