The Inspector General of Police Okoth Martin Ochola has dispatched a task team to thoroughly investigate circumstances under which Walugembe Hussein, a 25 year old casual worker and night watchman, committed suicide at Masaka Police Station.
The team that is jointly headed by Director Operations, AIGP Edward Ochom, and the Director Traffic and Road Safety, was dispatched after the deceased set himself ablaze following several failed attempts to reclaim his motorcycles, Bajaj Boxer, red in colour, reg. no. UDL 591R after two days.
According to Fred Enanga the police spokesperson, preliminary facts indicate that the motorcycle was impounded on 30.06.2020, by Sgt Ewalu Julius, after it was found parked at a petrol station that was undergoing construction, where the victim (now deceased), worked as a local night guard.
“The victim had recently acquired the motorcycle a period of one week, and it was being ridden by a friend called Kaweesi Twaha of Masaka City, since he never knew how to ride. He was therefore, not a bodaboda rider as alleged in the media. On the 1.07.2020, he went to Masaka Police Station to reclaim his motorcycle, and returned on 2.07.2020, but all in vain” Enanga narrates.
He added that the deceased was also employed by Namanya Rogers who supplied food to suspects in custody, but also performed several odd jobs at Masaka Police Station.
“On the 2.07.2020, his rider Kaweesi Twaha had raised Ugx. 40,000 as a bribe to Sgt. Ssesanga Ibrahim, but the victim rejected the move; since he was well known at the Police Station. It was after he was fully frustrated by the Ag. OC Traffic that he went and bought petrol from Mogus Petrol Station and set himself a blaze. He attempted to grab the officer, for them to die together, but he escaped with minor burns, leaving the victim behind” Enanga says.
The police spokesperson in his statement notes that the act of suicide at the police station is evidence of “lack of vigilance by some of our commanders.” By Friday, two officers who were insensitive to the plea of the victim have been arrested for exerting pressure on the victim to part with a Shs 40,000 bribe for the release of his motorcycle.
These include; Sgt Ewalu Julius, the Station Major and Sgt Ssesanga Ibrahim, the Ag. OC Traffic who are said to have acted negligently and unreasonably in holding the motorcycle without explanation or issuance of an EPS ticket.
“The task team is also investigating possible breach of police duties, negligent supervision, and failure to follow police procedures, failure to provide medical and life saving response to the victim and integrity related concerns of extortion and bribery at Masaka Police Station. The IGP has extended his heartfelt condolence and prayers to the immediate family, friend and relatives of Hussein Walugembe. He has also reached out to his family. May his Soul Rest in Eternal Peace” Enanga said.