By Insight Post Uganda
The Nakawa Chief Magistrate’s Court in Kampala on Monday filled beyond capacity as a suspected commander of the rebel group Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) was arraigned.
Abdul-Rashid Kyoto, also known as Njovu, was remanded to Luzira Prison on charges of terrorism and the brutal murder of two British tourists and their Ugandan guide in Queen Elizabeth National Park in Kasese district.
The accused faces nine counts, including confessing to belonging to a terrorist organization, terrorism, murder, and aggravated robbery, all of which are capital offences with a maximum penalty of death upon conviction.
The gruesome incident has sent shockwaves through the region, highlighting the ongoing challenges posed by terrorist activities and the importance of robust security measures to safeguard both local and international visitors.
Kyoto, a 31-year-old resident of Domain camp in Mwalika, Democratic Republic of Congo, and a former resident of Suni village in Lyama sub-county, Budaka District, arrived at court walking on crutches.
Chief Magistrate Erias Kakooza presided over the arraignment, revealing that the charges stem from an incident on October 17th, 2023, at Nyamunuka along Katunguru-Katwe Kabatoro Road in Queen Elizabeth National Park.
During the court proceedings, it was disclosed that Kyoto unlawfully caused the death of Barlow David James and Geyer Emmarentia Cecilia, a newlywed couple from the United Kingdom on their honeymoon in Uganda.
The suspect is also accused of murdering their Ugandan tour guide, Eric Alyai, and subsequently burning two vehicles, an alarming act that further escalated the gravity of the charges against him.
The prosecution, represented by Chief State Attorney Lillian Omara Alum and Assistant DPP Thomas Jatiko, detailed that Kyoto went beyond the act of murder.
The accused allegedly robbed the victims of their passports, including those from the United Kingdom and Northern Ireland, a South African Passport, a credit card from Barclays Premier Banking Visa Card, Driving licenses, a British Airways American Express Card, national IDs, employment cards and an unspecified amount of money.
The court learned that Kyoto used a deadly weapon and a gun to execute the robbery, causing indiscriminate and severe damage to property.
Furthermore, Njovu faces an additional charge of professing to be the commander in a terrorist organisation ADF between 2018 and November 1st, 2023, operating in various parts of the country such as Kampala, Kasese, and within the Democratic Republic of Congo.
On November 6th, 2023, he was captured during a strategic operation by the Uganda Peoples Defense Forces marine forces on Lake Edward at Katwe-Kabatoro Island.
Two other ADF suspects were neutralised during the operation. Njovu has been with the military since then. However, he was not allowed to plead capital offences of murder, terrorism, and robbery, as these are within the jurisdiction of the High Court.
The prosecution stated that inquiries into the matter are still ongoing, underscoring the complexity and magnitude of the case. Njovu is set to remain remanded until November 17th, 2023, awaiting further legal proceedings.