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Ugandan Human Rights Lawyer Calls for Help Over Cleric Murders

  • Peter Clottey

Uganda's President Yoweri Museveni prepares to deliver his state of the nation address in the capital Kampala, June 4, 2015.

Uganda's President Yoweri Museveni prepares to deliver his state of the nation address in the capital Kampala, June 4, 2015.

A Ugandan human rights lawyer says Ugandan police need help from abroad to find and arrest those behind the killings of nine Muslim clerics over the past three years.

That number includes three prominent Muslim clerics killed since December, following reports they were on a "hit list" targeting them for death.

The murders are generating fear and anxiety among the Muslim community.

Some clerics say there is need for the United States' Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) or British intelligence MI5 to step in because police in Uganda have failed to solve or stop the murders.

Human rights lawyer Ladislaus Rwakafuzi said efforts by the Ugandan police to arrest the killers have been insufficient, although more than 25 people have been arrested in connection with the killings.

“The police seem to have reached [their] limit because they have already arrested so many people since January, they have taken them to court, [and] they have not yet been tried," he said.

He suggested that if police had caught the killers or the masterminds behind them, the murders would have stopped.

Ugandan police have not commented on their investigation of the killings. Presidential Press Secretary Tamale Mirundi said President Yoweri Museveni has met with a group of clerics, but provided no other details.

The police have provided protection to some of the clerics who allegedly are being targeted. But some of the clerics say they are still in danger, given the recent attacks on their colleagues.

Rwakafuzi said there is a need for the Ugandan government to work with international security organizations to end the killings.

“Really, the police have done [their] best and even the whole of government [has] been trying their best but I think their best is not good enough. They need the assistance of other intelligence organizations like the FBI... They are taking too long and we are all worried about this,” he said.

“We need to find out who hates these clerics and wants them dead. If we discover that [person or persons] and find a solution to it, it’s much cheaper than protecting [all] these people, because how many of them can you protect? he said.

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