High court has declared the 2017 police raid on Nakasero Mosque illegal and unlawful.
High court has declared the 2017 police raid on Nakasero Mosque in Kampala illegal and unlawful. The judgment stems from an application filed by Siraje Kifampa, the then Public Relations Officer Jammiyaat Daawa Asaalafiyah and Sheikh Yusuf Musa Musuda, the Imam of Nakasero Mosque protesting the security raid on December 27, 2016 without a search warrant.
The applicant through their lawyer, Isaac Ssemakadde told court that security operatives forced themselves into the mosque and indiscriminately battered and arrested whoever they found inside. They also claimed that the operatives ransacked, pillaged and vandalised the whole mosque in search of what up to date is unknown to them and the rest of the Jamiyyat Daawa Assalafiyyah Muslim Community of Nakasero Mosque.
The police officers also allegedly looted property from the mosque, including but not necessarily limited to priceless Islamic artifacts, computers, sockets, mobile phones, chargers, motorcycle and cash among others. They told court that the actions of the operatives wounded their feeling and those of other members of Jamiyyat Daawa Assalafiyyah Muslim Community, insulted their religion and caused them to suffer less favorable treatment and stigma in law enforcement on grounds of their religion.
They argued that the conduct of security was unacceptable and unjustifiable in a free and democratic society like Uganda. They asked court to declare such actions illegal and order the state to compensate them for the inconveniences caused to them. During the hearing, Detective Assistant Superintendent of Police, Celsius Ocowum who testified for the state opposed the application.
He explained that the raid was done in respect of their investigations into the murder of Major Muhammad Kigundu and his body guard, Sergeant Stephen Mukasa who had earlier on been gunned down. Court heard that the security had been directed by Haji Ayub Nyende, the General Secretary Jamiyyat Daawa Assalafiyyah, one of the murder suspects that some vital information connected to Kigundu’s murder could be found at the mosque.
In his judgment delivered Monday morning, Justice Musa Ssekaana, said there was no evidence whatsoever to prove all the actions of the security operatives. He said the failure by security to secure a search warrant aggravated the situation because there were no guidelines on how the search was to be conducted.
"Places of worship should be searched in a manner that preserves the dignity and sanctity of the place and above all in an orderly and organized manner", said Ssekaana. He noted that the violation at the places of worship affects the entire community and persons who profess and practice such religion. "This could have far reaching effects on the entire country due to recklessness of persons who are carrying out the search,” Justice Ssekaana noted.
He also observed that there was no proof that whatever was picked from the mosque was submitted to the Magistrate in form of evidence as claimed by police. He therefore directed government to compensate the Nakasero Mosque Administration Shillings 50 million for the inconveniences caused to them and return everything that was picked from the Mosque.
He also awarded the applicants the costs of the suit. Siraji Kifampa, one of the applicants told on phone that the award of Shillings 50million is too little compared to Shillings 100 million that was robbed from the mosque. He promised to get to back to their lawyer after reading the judgment and see if they can appeal.