Lead prosecutor in al-Shabaab bombing trial shot dead in Uganda


olice say Joan Kagezi, who was prosecuting the case of 13 men on trial for killing 76 people, was followed on a motorbike as she drove home 

Security checkpoint in Kampala Uganda
A checkpoint at the entrance to a hotel in Kampala after Uganda bolstered security at key locations following threats of more attacks from members of al-Shabaab. Photograph: James Akena/Reuters

Uganda’s lead prosecutor in the ongoing trial of 13 men accused of participating in 2010 al-Shabaab bombings that killed 76 people was shot dead Monday, police said.

Joan Kagezi, acting assistant director of public prosecution, was murdered by men on a motorbike as she drove home in a suburb of the capital, Kampala police spokesman Patrick Onyango said. “They were trailing her on a motorcycle … They shot her dead.”

Her current cases included the trial of men allegedly linked to July 2010 suicide bombings targeting football fans watching the World Cup final at a restaurant and a rugby club in Kampala. Somalia’s al-Qaida-affiliated Shabaab militants claimed responsibility for the attack, the group’s first outsideSomalia.

The trial of the accused – seven Kenyans, five Ugandans and one Tanzanian – began earlier this month at Uganda’s high court on a range of charges including terrorism, murder and membership of a terrorist organisation.

All but one have also been charged with belonging to the Shabaab. The case was due to resume on Tuesday.

Jane Kajuga, spokeswoman for the office of the director of public prosecution, confirmed the death of Kagezi, lead prosector in the bombing trial, and who also led the prosecution’s anti-terrorism and war crimes section.

“She has been shot dead … but details are so far scanty,” Kajuga told the NTV Uganda station.

The state-owned New Vision newspaper said the gunmen had attacked her car as it slowed down for speed bumps, and that the lawyer died on the spot.

The July 2010 bombings were one of the deadliest attacks by the Shabaab, who also carried out the 2013 assault on the Westgate Mall in Nairobi, Kenya, killing at least 67 people.

Uganda and Kenya have contributed thousands of soldiers to the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM), which was established to fight the Islamists and protect the internationally recognised government.

Al-Shebab continues to target countries in the region.

In September Ugandan security forces seized suicide vests and explosives during a raid on a suspected Shabaab cell in Kampala.

Last week Uganda said it was boosting security over threats by the Shabaab, after the US embassy in Kampala warned its citizens of a possible imminent terror attack.

(The Guardian




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