Masindi Chief Magistrate’s court has remanded three suspects to Hoima government prison over the alleged killing of Masindi district health officer (DHO) Dr Jino Abiriga.
The remanded suspects include Abiriga’s wife Betty Cherotich, 31 who has reportedly confessed to hiring hitmen at Shs 2.5 million to kill her husband. Others remanded are Joshua Namureng, 36, a builder and a resident of Tarobya village in Bukwo district, and Martin Kipsang, 31, a carpenter and a resident of Roruk village in Bukwo district. They were remanded after the murder charge was preferred against them.
Court presided over by chief magistrate Kosia Kasibayo, heard that on January 7, 2024, the trio with others still at large connived, masterminded and brutally murdered Abiriga. His body which bore severe injuries in the neck, head, both hands and his back was discovered by passersby dumped in the compound of his neighbour in Kijura North Cell, Central Division in Masindi Municipality.
Police and other security agencies including the Chieftaincy of Military Intelligence (CMI) operatives embarked on the hunt for the suspected killers and arrested the trio. Cherotich was arrested from Masindi while Namureng and Kipsang were arrested from Bukwo district.
The suspects were whisked off to Masindi central police station and detained. Police noted that while bloodstains were found inside the deceased’s house, his body was discovered outside the gate.
The magistrate did not allow the suspects to enter any plea since this particular court has no jurisdiction to hear their case and remanded them to prison until July 30, 2024, when they will reappear in court. The trio was remanded to Hoima government prison after they declined to be remanded to Masindi government prison for security reasons.
The prosecution, led by Florence Akello, the assistant director in the Director of Public Prosecutions for mid-western region, told the court that the matter was still under investigation and requested the accused persons to be remanded as they finalize with investigations.
Abiriga was buried at his ancestral home in Tumvea village, Offude parish Tara sub-county in Maracha district on Friday last week.