It was a normal day in police circles with no any major incidents reported until news broke of the discovery of two bodies of young girls in 2005. The bodies were found at Lutembe Beach on Entebbe Road.
Before the nation could come to terms with the gruesome murder of the girls, another report was made of a body dumped in Kawaala, a Kampala suburb.
Officials in the police circles became uncomfortable because the public was starting to enjoy calm following the Force’s crushing of criminal gangs in and around Kampala that had been robbing banks, forex bureaus and petrol stations.
The Inspector General of Police, Gen Kale Kayihura, summoned a joint meeting of intelligence chiefs that involved the Chieftaincy of Military Intelligence (CMI), Internal Security Organisation (ISO), External Security Organisation (ESO) and directors of CID, Special Branch and Operations. Kayihura was determined to get the culprits.
Realising that there was no information to work with, Kayihura ordered department heads to avail themselves for meetings every morning and evening at 6am and 6pm.
That became the routine for the next three days. Senior officers were hardly doing any other work as they spent long hours in the said meetings. There was anxiety everywhere, no one had concrete information. Even officers were briefing Kayihura based on what was gathered in the news.
On the third day, Kayihura sat in the routine meeting and everyone gave their report, except for the Rapid Response Unit (RRU).
When then RRU commandant David Magara was asked to update the meeting on his findings, he left his colleagues shocked.
“I do not have any lies to tell you sir,” he told the IGP, leaving his colleagues surprised. Before Kayihura could respond, he received a phone call and went out.
“You cannot talk to the Inspector General like that,” some of his colleagues told him.
“I have no lies to tell him,” Magara insisted.
Shortly after, Kayihura returned and prompted Magara to continue.
“Yesterday we left here close to midnight and this morning I was here at 6am. I hardly have any time to brief my boys or hear what they have to say,” Magara said. “All what these people are telling you are lies.”
“What should we do now?” Kayihura asked. “How can we find the killers when we do not know who these girls are? Are they students, prostitutes or businesswomen?”
“Sir, give us tasks,” Magara suggested. “Let’s have someone handle the public, the media, and have someone check out the bars and night clubs in Kampala to establish who these girls were.”
The IGP bought the idea. RRU opted to check out the night clubs as Kayihura settled for handling the media.
At RRU, Magara summoned his team of four detectives and gave them Shs200,000 with instructions for them to checkout Ange Noir, Nandos, Rock Gardens and Club Silk. The team had to use the money to buy beers for waitresses and special hire drivers, and also newspapers, most of which they already had.
The detectives had to report to their area of deployment, buy beer and after a few rounds pretend to be drunk. They would then cry, claiming one of the girls murdered was their sister while pointing at the pictures in the papers.
It was the operative at Rock Gardens who first received a response. As the waitress calmed him, she revealed that one of the girls partied at Rock Gardens. And a few moments later pointed at the victim’s pregnant sister who was seated among the revellers. The operative told her to give the grieving woman a beer, which she did without hesitation.
The sister then told the operative that the victims were Moreen Nabbaale, an S6 student of Makerere College School; Jacqueline Najjombwe and Maria Katasi, both residents of Najjanankumbi on Entebbe Road.
After a few more rounds, the girl pointed him to a special hire car that ferried the girls on the fateful day.
When approached, the special hire driver informed the operative that he transported the girls from Rock gardens to Nandos.
Meanwhile, the operative at Nandos had also made some headway. He was told that the girls were given a lift by one of the revellers, a young man who was known at the place. But it had been some days since he was last seen in the vicinity.
The young loaded man, the detective was told, was a resident in Kiswa near Bugolobi. He had only recently relocated from the United Kingdom to Kampala. He had money and hanged around bars most of the time.
After a brief tracking, the young man was arrested. He was Baker Walusimbi, a resident of Wankoko in Bugolobi.
Upon arrest, Walusimbi confessed to the triple murder on video camera. Police drove him to Lutembe where two of the bodies were recovered.
Though residents had not seen Walusimbi at the scene, they confirmed seeing his car at the beach.
At Lutembe beach, Walusimbi told RRU officers that he had returned to the scene to look for something he didn’t name from the scene.
Walusimbi narrated how he picked the girls from Nandos to Najjanankumbi. Before reaching their destination, he locked the girls in the car and intimidated the girls into keeping quiet until he reached Lutembe beach. Walusimbi then refused to let the girls go after realising that one of them had identified him. Knowing that letting them go would lead to his arrest, Walusimbi decided to drive them up to the beach.
Once at the beach, Walusimbi locked the girls in the car to ensure none of them got away. He then got out one girl careful enough not to let others escape. He took one of the girls out and he slit her throat. Walusimbi came back for another girl and killed her in the same way.
Leaving him with one girl, Walusimbi drove back towards Kampala and drove towards Kawaala. Since the day break was approaching fast Walusimbi killed the third girl there before driving off.
In his confession, Walusimbi said he had offered a lift to the trio with the sole intention of robbing them. But his motive changed for the worst when he learnt from one of the women, that his identity was not concealed.
The police said they had arrested Walusimbi after investigations that involved tracking the phones of the slain girls.
Walusimbi had had a history of crime. In 2002, he was convicted of defilement and remanded at Luzira prison. Walusimbi is also alleged to have killed one of his sisters prior to his arrest.
VCCU also confiscated 190 phones during the investigation. It was discovered that Walusimbi would lock the women inside his car and withdraw all the money from accounts using their ATM cards. He would then rape the women and let them go if they did not recognise him.
One of the VCCU operatives that tracked Walusimbi recalled how on December 18, 2005, Walusimbi kidnapped two female students from Kyambogo University and another lady who lived in Nateete from Nakawa stage.
Walusimbi offered a lift to the stranded ladies in his Toyota Corona to town but diverted to Entebbe Road, passing Nasser Road.
He asked the ladies where they were heading and their work.
At Nasser Road, Walusimbi asked his occupants whether they had ever heard of a notorious robber and rapist called Baker Walusimbi. The revelation sent chills down three girls’ spines since it was raining heavily. They all kept quiet knowing that not even shouting would help.
At Shoprite the girl heading to Nateete girl asked to disembark, but Walusimbi did not stop. He drove towards Ggaba Road.
At Mukwano-Ggaba road traffic lights, Walusimbi warned that each of them would get a punishment boarding strangers’ vehicles.
Two of the girls tried to shout but he forced them to keep quiet by pulling a knife and gun on them.
At Bbunga, Walusimbi stopped and ordered one lady to remove whatever she had, including the shoes and mobile phone and get out of the vehicle.
He then drove towards Munyonyo Speke Resort where he left another girl after robbing her of all her possessions.
This incident sent fear in the general public most, especially students of Kyambogo University, Makerere University Business School and Uganda Management Institute who had been accepting lifts from strangers.
There were a number of incidents that police recorded involving this mysterious kidnapper who was robbing valuables from women. Though police vowed to put a stop to the wave the suspect, Baker Walusimbi remained at large until he was arrested by the Violent Crime Crack Unit on January 21, 2006.
Walusimbi who has been on remand at Luzira prison was recently set to be granted bail after court assessors to his case vanished. But his case was sent back for fresh trial.