MBALE – On January 18, 2021, 39 year-old Siraji Magomu, a taxi driver went to drink as a way of passing an evening at Bujoloto in Nkoma Ward, Mbale City.
This was something he did every day after a long day’s drive and would return home late in the night but unfortunately this time he never returned.
Ms Trupheosa Magomu, his wife says she waited and waited until morning, waited for another day and then another in vain, Magomu never came back home.
She explained that her eyes would daily shoot to Magomu’s empty chair and the children who also sit in the opposite direction peering at her with their faces clearly asking the question “where is daddy?”, this question remained unanswered for close to three months.
It is a sombre mood as you enter Wagagai cell, Nkoma ward in Mbale City and grief still grips the wife, relatives and children following the mysterious disappearance and death of a renowned taxi driver.
Ms Trupheosa Magomu told this reporter that acting upon a tip off from Boda boda riders when they visited the mortuary, they found the bones and rotting body parts of Mr Magomu on 12 April but police asked them to facilitate the Autopsy of the body at Mulago national referral.
“When we reached out to his uncle Mr Idris Wambewo, he declined to give any facilitation and asked us to just bury the remains without autopsy to find out whether the body was for Magomu or not,” said Ms Trupheosa Magomu.
“Although we were convinced that this was my late husband’s body, we had to facilitate autopsy of the body without the help of his uncles and the results indicated that the body was Late Magomu’s,” the Late’s wife [Ms Trupheosa Magomu] added.
For the last five months, the mother of five has been frequently welcoming extended family members who visit her to express their sympathy following the abduction and death of her husband.
A grief-stricken Ms Trupheosa Magomu is still trying to wrap her mind around the callous acts of those that killed her husband, whom the family discovered in the mortuary after his kidnap.
Ms Margret Kawuya, 62, the mother of the diseased driver looks weary and sad, because she has been on a search mission everywhere but could not find Magomu not even his remains anywhere.
She has just confirmed the death of her son [Mr Siraji Magomu, 39] and Ms Kawuya’s long journey through grief, including her visit to the mortuary, today marks seven months since Magomu was kidnapped and murdered in a land wrangle case but the his bones still remain unburied in Mbale City Mortuary and the culprits remain at large.
As you enter her compound, Ms Margret Kawuya, 62, the mother of the diseased driver looks weary and sad, she has just confirmed the death of her son Mr Siraji Magomu Kadogo, 39 — actually they just discovered bones and rotting parts of the head at a mortuary in Mbale city.
The discovery would have reverberations that would change the way people are kidnapped, kept indoors and later killed stealthily without anybody suspecting.
It is on 12, April, 2021 after three months of searching that the mother Ms Margret Kawuya, 62, and maternal uncle Mr Nathan Gudoi found the body of Magomu in a decomposing state with the remains of the bones in the mortuary at Mbale City upon a tip off from the Boda boda riders.
“We actually found bones and rotting parts of the head at a mortuary in Mbale city and To date Late Magomu’s remains have not left the mortuary in Mbale,” added Mr Gudoi who with Ms Kawuya had been searching for the late since his disappearance.
“And because my husband is not buried, I am very devastated. I have never been the same again since he died. I have failed to concentrate at work especially when I see his murderers walking free,” said Ms Ms Trupheosa Magomu.
According to Mr Nathan Gudoi, late Magomu left home as usual on January 18 and was allegedly kidnapped, kept indoors before he was murdered by the kidnappers, “ and I suspect these could have been his paternal uncles” he added.
Ms Stella Kameme, a neighbour explained that when she went around demanding for her money from several creditors, a wife to Mr Idris Wambewo in January, told her that Mr Magomu was suffering from cerebral malaria and was tied up inside their house [Wambewo’s house].
It is alleged that Mr Magomu aka Kadogo was killed by his paternal uncles following a dispute over a piece of land he was meant to inherit from his mother [Ms Margret Sarah Kawuya].
According to Ms Kawuya, his son [Mr Magomu] attended a meeting with his uncles in early January 2021 chaired by his paternal uncle Mr Idris Wambewo and requested for his share of land including the land that belonged to me and that this did not go well with his uncles.
“And on 18 January he disappeared, we asked the uncles to join us in the search for Magomu and they declined. Later they told us Mr Magomu had gone to Mombasa before switching to Kampala and later declining to answer anything,” said Ms Kawuya before breaking down into tears.
Ms Kawuya explained that after searching everywhere without success, they resorted to prayers but that one time she decided to ring Ms Madina Namakambo, an auntie to Mr Magomu who said the late had gone to her home drunk and she chased him away.
“But later when I rang Mr Wambewo, he told me he does not know the late [Magomu] but later he rang me and told me that there was a body that had been seen at Kasanvu and told me to find out,” said a sobbing Kawuya.
She explained that upon reaching Kasanvu, she did not find anything and that determined to find her son, she called on her brother Mr Nathan Gudoi to help in the search since the uncles to the late had declined.
According to a statement released by police, the disappearance was reported by Ms Kawuya and Mr Gudoi at Gangama Police post for a missing person under SD REF No. 06/28/1/2021, three days after he went missing.
Dr Barnabas Rubanza, police surgeon in charge of Eastern Uganda confirmed police sent the remains to Mulago national referral for autopsy and that they confirmed the deceased was Mr Magomu, a taxi driver.
“Yes, we sent the body parts to Mulago for autopsy and although they have not sent back the report, they have already confirmed that the body parts are for Late Magomu,” said Dr Rubanza.
Ms Trupheosa Magomu, the wife to the deceased explained that although she wanted to have the remains of her husband buried at her home in Wagagai cell, the paternal uncles have intervened and given conditions.
She revealed that they asked her not to buy any clothes to put in the remains and not to wash the bones with any water “And they want me to wash them with sand,” she explained before breaking down in tears.
“And you must ensure that he is washed with sand, we are going to provide special cloths for the remains, prayers must be said by a witch doctor, he should be buried late in the evening about 7.00am and that a sheep must be slaughtered, cooked without salt for cleansing,” she claimed the uncles to the diseased told us.
Mr Idris Wambewo, the accused uncle to the late when reached for a comment, first listened, then said aaaaaaaaa, a journalist! “But I am sick and I can’t speak” before handing over the phone to someone else who declined to disclose his name.
“Yes, we know Mr Magomu [diseased], he is our son in the clan but he dies sometime back and police is investigating this matter before switching off,” said a voice.
Although the remains of Magomu’s body still remains in the mortuary, Ms Kawuya has asked police to do a thorough investigation and have the culprits who killed her son arrested to face justice.
She claimed the statements that come from the uncles to the diseased indicate that there is something wrong they are hiding.
“I need justice for my son, yes he was killed and the culprits are at large, police should help me if they can’t, I am begging kindly that Col. Edith Nakalema to intervene to have justice,” said Ms Kawuya
The Elgon region Police Spokesperson, Mr Rogers Taitika, said although he was not aware of the death, if the relatives registered a case with police, investigations would start soon to establish who exactly killed Mr Magomu.
“I am just going to find out, I was not aware but I know that justice will be given to the family of the diseased,” said Mr Taitika.