Kampala. Unknown assailants on Tuesday sprayed bullets at a car carrying Uganda’s Transport minister, Gen Edward Katumba Wamala, in an attempted assassination that wounded him and killing his daughter and driver.
Eyewitnesses said four armed assailants riding on two motorcycles opened fire at the vehicle carrying the former army commander of land forces in the Kampala suburb of Kisasi on Tuesday morning.
Images circulating on social media showed Gen Wamala in shock and apparent distress, while beside the car in which his daughter Brenda Nantongo and driver Haruna Kayondo lay dead. The General’s light-colored trousers was splattered with blood before he was helped by residents to sit on a boda boda motorcycle and rushed to a nearby health facility.
He was later transferred to Medipal International Hospital where he’s currently admitted.
The two bodies were picked from the scene and taken to a local mortuary.
“There was a shooting involving him … he is hurt and he’s been taken to the hospital, his driver was killed,” Army spokeswoman Brigadier Flavia Byekwaso told journalists.
The area has been sealed off by heavily armed security operatives as scene of crime officers pick exhibits as part of their investigations.
Kinkizi West MP Dr Chris Baryomunsi, who was one of the first responders, told journalists at the scene that the minister sustained injuries on both shoulders.
“General Edward Katumba Wamala’s condition is stable. He will remain is hospital and may not be evacuated out of the country,” Dr Baryomunsi added hours later.
An eyewitness who asked not to be named so as to speak freely said: “We heard bullets and all of us scampered for our lives. We returned to the scene about five minutes later only to find that it was Gen Katumba who had been attacked.”
By press time, several politicians and other high profile Ugandans had started arriving at the scene along Kisota road near the Northern Bypass, Kisasi.
Former Kawempe North MP Latif Ssebagala described the assassination attempt as unfortunate and called for a speedy investigation.
“Government should investigate this case and issue a report since there are some privately owned cameras in the neighborhood that can help trace the assailants,” he said.
There have been several unsolved assassinations and mysterious deaths of high profile officials in the country in recent years that have fueled speculation about perpetrators and their motivations.
Some of the high profile victims include former Arua Municipality MP Ibrahim Abiriga, former police spokesperson Andrew Felix Kaweesi, former District Police Commander for Buyende ASP Muhammad Kirumira, senior state prosecutor Joan Kagezi, UPDF officer Maj Muhammad Kiggundu and senior Muslim leaders, among others. Nearly all were committed by gunmen on motorcycles.
The attempt on Gen Wamala took place in the same suburb in Kampala capital where in 2017, gunmen on motorcycles sprayed bullets at a vehicle carrying AIGP Kaweesi. Kaweesi was killed alongside his bodyguard and driver.
Shortly before the attack, Gen Wamala wished his Twitter followers a “Month of Happiness, Success, Peace, Prosperity, Good Health, and Wealth.”
Report by Damali Mukhaye, Benson Tumusiime and Job Bwire