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Three Acquitted of Former Minister’s Murder But Arrested Again

August 29, 1988

KAMPALA, Uganda (AP) _ Three men were found innocent Monday in the murder of a former Cabinet minister, but they were arrested moments after the judge acquitted them.

Plainclothes officers took into custody businessman John Katabaazi, 28, and army deserters Peter Kiwanuka, 22, and Silvester Wadda, 25, as they left the High Court building where they had been on trial for the March 6, 1987, murder of Andrew Kayiira, a former energy minister. It was not known why they were arrested again.

The murder case against them was dropped by Justice Charles Kato who said the prosecution had ″failed to convince the court that the three accused persons participated in the murder of Kayiira.″

Kayiira was shot and killed 10 days after he was acquitted of plotting to overthrow President Yoweri Museveni’s government. The killing took place at the Kampala home of Henry Gombya, a free-lance journalist who worked for the British Broadcasting Corp.

Kato said the prosecution’s failure to produce Gombya or his wife as witnesses ″left much to be desired.″

Gombya, who lives in Britain, has said Kayiira’s murder was politically motivated and not a robbery as officials claimed.

Kayiira headed the Uganda Freedom Movement, a guerrilla group that fought alongside Museveni’s National Resistance Army in a five-year bush war against civilian President Milton Obote’s government.

Obote was overthrown in a July 1985 military coup. Six months later, Museveni chased the military rulers from office and appointed Kayiira energy minister. Kayiira held the post until he was charged with treason.

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