By Insight Post Uganda
The trial concerning Susan Magara’s murder on Wednesday saw an unexpected twist as a witness identified a suspect who received the ransom.
Flora Magara, who is Susan Magara’s paternal aunt, provided a shocking testimony implicating one of the defendants, Abubakar Kyewolwa, as someone who received the ransom in the horrifying abduction and murder of Susan.
According to Flora, the harrowing experience of delivering a $200,000 ransom to the kidnappers, adding that her brother- John Magara, who is Susan’s father, had initially attempted to deliver the ransom but had failed.
It was then that Flora received a call from a mysterious man who informed her that her brother’s efforts were in vain, and it was her responsibility to ensure the ransom was delivered.
Guided by the kidnappers, Flora embarked on a perilous journey along Busabala Road, where she handed over the $200,000 in cash.
Her desperate hope was that this ransom would secure the release of her niece, Susan. Tragically, her hopes were shattered as Susan was later found murdered.
Kidnapping, Ransom Scheme
The Susan Magara case began on February 7, 2018, when the 28-year-old daughter of prominent businessman John Magara was kidnapped on Kabaka Anjagala Road in Mengo while driving back home to Lungujja.
Her car was subsequently discovered abandoned near her gate. The kidnappers, motivated by financial gain, contacted the Magara family and demanded an exorbitant sum of $1 million (equivalent to about shillings 3.65 billion) as ransom for her release.
The prosecution alleges that the accused, along with others who remain at large, kidnapped Susan with the sinister intent of procuring a ransom for her liberation and ultimately to prevent the danger of her being murdered.
The mastermind behind this horrifying plot, Yakub Byensi, a former combatant with the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) rebels from Bunyoro region, was known to Susan’s family.
Additionally, another individual, Lubega, who had worked at Container Village in Kampala with Susan’s mother, was implicated in the scheme.
Armed with inside information, the suspects, according to the prosecution’s account, shadowed Susan until they seized her in Lungujja on her way home.
She was initially taken to Hajara Nakandi’s residence in Nateete, Kampala, and then to Amir Bukenya’s home in Konge II Makindye.
It was during her captivity that the perpetrators severed two of Susan’s fingers and sent them to her family as a gruesome warning of their determination to murder her if the ransom was not paid.
The indictment further suggests that the decision to take Susan’s life was driven by the fear of exposure; releasing her would have potentially led to the apprehension of the kidnappers.
During Susan’s requiem mass at Our Lady of Africa Catholic Church in Mbuya, her family heartbreakingly revealed that her tormentors had not only kidnapped her but also mutilated her fingers and sent them, along with a chilling recording of the incident, to the family.
In general, this case underscores the need for individuals to prioritize personal security, be cautious about sharing personal information, and be prepared for potential risks.
It also serves as a reminder that communities and law enforcement agencies need to work together to combat such threats and ensure the safety and security of the public.
The reported cases of kidnappings for ransom in the Kyotera and Masaka regions underscore the pressing need for public awareness and vigilance regarding personal security:
In March 2021, the police arrested three individuals, including a businessman in Mutukula border town council, for abducting a 2-year-old boy and demanding a Ugx80 million ransom. Sulaiti Mugabi, a well-known household item dealer, was apprehended along with his mother and cousin.
The child, Bills Kiiza Kato, had been taken from his family’s home, and his mother, Carolyn Nalujjumwa, received an anonymous call from the kidnappers demanding the ransom. Nalujjumwa asked for a brief period to gather the ransom, but police detectives intervened and successfully tracked down the kidnappers.
In June 2019, three individuals, including a police detective and a lieutenant, kidnapped a Tanzanian businessman for a Ugx200 million ransom. They intercepted the businessman on his way home, took a significant sum of money, and demanded additional funds from his family. However, the family managed to raise only a fraction of the ransom and alerted the police, who apprehended the kidnappers.
It’s crucial to note that these cases represent a broader trend of kidnappings for ransom in the Masaka region. In some instances, victims were released after their families paid the demanded ransom, while others suffered tragic fates. Furthermore, there have been instances where kidnappings were fabricated by individuals, including politicians, to extort money from the public.
These cases emphasize the need for heightened awareness of personal security, prompt reporting of such incidents to the authorities, and thorough investigations to ensure the safety and well-being of individuals at risk.
In November 2018, a 2-year-old girl named Favour Mulungi Wanyana was abducted from her home in Lwamaggwa Trading Centre, Rakai district. The kidnappers demanded Ugx4.5 million from her parents, who complied with the demand. Fortunately, the girl was abandoned in Kalisizo town and safely recovered.