By Frank Kamuntu
Kampala: The trial of Jamil Mukulu who has been in detention since 2015 on allegations of being attached to the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) with 37 others kicked off yesterday with all the suspects denying any link to the launch of rebellion and terrorising people in Rwenzori Sub-region before establishing their base in eastern DR Congo.
This came after the International Crimes Division of the High Court in 2019 granted opportunity the Director of Public prosecutions to proceed with Mukulu’s trial and 37 others on charges of terrorism, murder, aggravated robbery, aiding and abetting terrorism and crimes against humanity among others.
Forthwith, the group appeared before a panel of three justices of the International Crimes Division of the High Court that were led by Michael Elubu, Susan Okalany and Lydia Mugambe in a court session that was held at Luzira prison due to prevailing COVID-19 conditions.
Still due to COVID-19, journalists, family members of the accused and the general public attended the criminal session from the High Court premises through video conferencing.
The prosecution alleges that the group were involved in the murder of Sheikh Ductoor Abdukadir Muwaya, Sheikh Yunus Abubakeri Mandangu, Tito Okware (LC3 chairman), CPL Julius Owori, Stephen John Owori, PC Babale Muzamir and SPC Tenya Karim which the accused denies.
In court, the accused complained to the judges about continued detention despite having been released on bail, and intimidation from State agents which the judges responded too by tasking their lawyers and prisons staff to take action on it before adjourning the case to January 27 2021.
Mukulu is battling charges together with Abdallah Sharif Ali Salim, Cpl. Alex Martin Engwau, Sgt. John Owori, Sheikh Ibrahim Badru Wanjala, Amis Adam, Abdul Malik Kabaale, Muzahamu Ndifuna, Ibrahim Kyessa, Yakubu Kyessa, Muhammad Muruya, and Abdallah Waniala.
Others are Abduswabul Kimbugwe, Muhammad Mbuya, Muhammad Kiryagana, Abdurahamani Muyaga, Muhammad Matovu, Omar Abdallah Mutuka, Amis Sowedi, Zaidi Kambo, Musa Kaala, Mansuudi Kisambira, Isa Kayira, Hassan Waswa, Abdallah Kirwani, Daniel Wanyama, Abdul Ddungu, Robert Wandera and Umayiya Kikomeko.
Who Is Jamilu Mukulu?
Jamil Mukulu, currently 61 was born in Ntoke village Ntenjeru Sub County, Kayunga District.
Though originally catholic by faith, he later converted to Islam and finally formed Allied Democratic Front (ADF) rebel group in 1989 to fight and overthrow the government citing what he described as discrimination against Muslims in Uganda. He’s a fluent speaker of Arabic, Swahili and English and very fine orator who can move and convene crowds to follow him.
At the time, he was considered the overall leader of the salaf section of Tabliq Muslims. This propelled him to prominence at the time when he engaged with police in running battle in the fight against the Uganda Muslim Supreme Council at Old Kampala which left several policemen and police dogs dead.
The formation of ADF saw this group commit a series of attacks and atrocities against Uganda which included the following;
(i) 1986 attack on Mponde trading centre in Kasese which left several Ugandans dead.
(ii) 10/10/1997 two teachers were abducted and killed by ADF in Bugoya Sub-county Kasese.
(iii) 31/10/1997 – Abducted 19 students from St. Johns Seminary Kasese.
(iv) 8/06/1990, ADF attacked Kichwamba technical college, killing 80 students and abducting over 80.
(v) By August 11, 1998, a total of over 366 children in Kasese were reported to behave abducted by ADF.
(vi) 11/12/1999 ADF attacked UPDF barracks in Bundibugyo, releasing 365 inmates from Katojo prison in Fort portal. 4 UPDF soldiers were killed in this attack.
(vii) 17/01/2000, 25 people were massacred and 17 injured when ADF attacked Kirindi IDP camp in Bundibugyo.
(viii) January 15, 2015 investigation by police into a wave of murders of Muslim religious leaders and robberies in Busoga region linked suspects arrested to ADF. It was also established that killings were sectarian in nature and carried by salaf sect (ADF linked) gangs against Muslims of other sects who were referred to as ‘snakes’