The General Court Martial in Makindye has delivered a verdict, sentencing a security guard to 41 years in prison for the fatal shooting of a Muslim cleric in Bugiri district, Eastern Uganda.
Mugoya Biasaali, a supervisor at SGA private security company, had been arrested in 2020 for the murder of Sheikh Masudi Mutumba, a 60-year-old Imam of Iwemba Mosque in Iwemba parish, Iwemba sub-county, Bugiri district. The cleric was tragically shot dead as he returned home from evening prayers at approximately 9:45 pm.
Initially, Biasaali had denied the murder charges pressed against him. However, last month, he changed his plea to guilty.
On Monday, the court, chaired by Brigadier Freeman Mugabe, reached its decision, handing down a 41-year prison sentence to the 43-year-old security guard.
“While the maximum sentence for this offense is death, the convict pleaded guilty and is a family man. Therefore, a sentence of 45 years imprisonment is appropriate,” stated Brig. Mugabe after considering both the state counsel’s submissions and the convict’s plea. He also noted that deductions were made for the time Biasaali spent on remand (3 years, 7 months, and 15 days) and for mitigating factors (5 months), resulting in the final sentence of 41 years and 15 days.
The shooting of Sheikh Masudi Mutumba had sent shockwaves through the community in February 2020, raising fears of a resurgence in violence targeting Muslim clerics. However, subsequent investigations by the Police Flying Squad revealed that the murder was rooted in a family land dispute.
The arrest of several family members connected to the gruesome shooting led to the revelation that the cleric had been killed due to the land conflict. The investigation trail eventually led to the apprehension of the boda boda (motorcycle taxi) rider who had transported the assassin to and from the crime scene.
The security guard was lured into another mission, leading to his arrest, along with seven others, all of whom were subsequently arraigned before the General Court Martial in Makindye.
While some of the co-accused chose to deny the charges, Mugoya Biasaali opted to change his plea to guilty, resulting in his sentencing. The remaining co-accused individuals continue to face murder charges.
The verdict underscores the commitment of the justice system to addressing crimes and bringing those responsible to account, ensuring justice for the victims and their families.