Police ignored complaints of death threats filed by the slain former Buyende District Police Commander, Muhammad Kirumira.
According to information obtained by our reporter, Kirumira and his wife, Mariam Kirumira separately reported cases of death threats to their lives at Lungujja Police Station and Jinja Road Police Station respectively.
Kirumira filed a complaint on February 28th, 2018 claiming that unidentified people had trailed him with numberless motorcycles for a couple of days and expressed fear for his life.
Two months later, his expectant wife Mariam Kirumira filed a case of threatening violence by unknown persons at Jinja Road Police Station. Mariam Kirumira claimed that she was pulled off a boda boda motorcycle by unidentified persons when she was going to visit her husband who was in police custody.
However, apart from recording the complaints in the Station Diaries (SD) at the counter no other action was taken. Police neither opened a case file nor did they investigate both complaints.
A police officer, who spoke to our reporter on condition of anonymity for fear of reprisal from his superiors, says they simply thought the couple was seeking attention.
“It’s not only me. Even my bosses thought he was making up those stories so he could get media attention. That’s why the cases were never followed up,” the officer said. However, the Kampala Metropolitan Police spokesperson, Luke Owoyesigyire, says police tried to convince Kirumira to record a statement on the death threats in vain.
“Like the case he reported at Lungujja, the Officer in charge Criminal Investigations even called him to go to the station and record a statement so that the investigations commence but he never showed up,” Owoyesigyire said.
Kirumira was gunned down by unidentified assailants riding on a motorcycle on Saturday night last week. He was killed together with his female friend, Resty Nalinya Mbabazi near his home in Bulenga in Wakiso district.
The failure by police to follow up on the couple’s complaints puts the force under the spotlight. Ideally, when Police receives a complaint of death threats, police is expected to commence investigations and provide the complainant with extra security.
In other countries like the United Kingdom, an Osman Warning is issued by police on the person whose life is in danger. Osman Warning is a written notice warning one of a death threat or risk of murder.
The warning is given after police investigations into the death threats to verify whether one’s life is in danger. They advise the complainants on what to do, to avoid making a routine that can be used by their attackers.
Its name was picked from a case where a widow to Ali Osman sued the United Kingdom for failing to protect her husband despite being informed that his life was being threatened by Paul Paget-Lewis.
In 1998, the European Court of Human rights in ruled that it was the mandate of the police to protect people and their property and in situations where a threat has been reported they ought to take action.