- October 10, 2021
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- 9 minutes read
IGP Ochola orders fresh investigation into Paul Lokech’s death
The Police have opened up a special inquiry into the death of Lt Gen. Paul Lokech.
The celebrated 58-year-old military officer died on the morning of August 21 after five weeks at home in Kitikifumba, Kira division, nursing injuries he sustained after he reportedly fell off a stool.
Impeccable sources revealed that the Police chief, Martin Okoth Ochola, has ordered a fresh probe despite the post-mortem report that showed that Lokech died of a blood clot.
Without divulging details, the source said: “The investigation is as a result of ‘key individuals’ who raised divergent views/clues into circumstances that led to the general’s death.”
Despite previous cases where the Police head of medical services/ surgeon, Dr Moses Byaruhanga, has been involved in carrying out postmortem examinations, it is not clear why he was not mentioned as being on the team that carried out the postmortem examination on Lokech.
On August 22, Police spokesperson Fred Enanga told the press at the Police headquarters in Naguru, Kampala, that the task had been handled by a team of four — Brig. Gen. Dr Stephen Kusasira, the director of medical services in the UPDF, Lokech’s personal doctor, Ben Khingi and two-family representatives.
Security observers noted that it was rare for Police to give details of persons who had carried out a postmortem examination as they did in Lokech’s case.
Ochola has thus tasked the homicide department, based at the Criminal Investigations Directorate (CID) headquarters in Kibuli, a Kampala suburb, to carry out the investigation.
The department is headed by an acting commissioner of Police, Monday Johnson Agaba. Detectives were, however, cagey on the details of those lined up for interrogation.
Two weeks ago, Enanga issued a press statement detailing how Ochola developed hypertension following the sudden demise of his former deputy, Lokech. “His condition was not life-threatening after it was effectively managed by both his personal doctor and the police surgeon,” Enanga said in the September 22 statement that countered rumours on social media that Ochola was hospitalised and on oxygen support.
On Wednesday, the Police released a picture of a suspected terrorist who was shot dead by security operatives in Kyebando, a Kampala suburb, on October 4.
Enanga identified the victim as Hamidu Nsubuga, who Police says was found with a pistol, among other exhibits.
According to Enanga, the suspect’s name had been mentioned by detained Abdu Katumba, an alleged Allied Democratic Forces operative linked to an attempted suicide bombing at Lokech’s funeral in Pader. Katumba was arrested by the army’s Chieftaincy of Military Intelligence.
Enanga said detectives have since established that Hamidu Nsubuga aka Young Midu was a hardcore criminal, who had previously been committed for trial by the Nabweru Chief Magistrates’ court over the alleged murder of Bosco Dramani on April 8, 2016.
The post-mortem While giving details of Lokech’s post-mortem report on August 22, Enanga said the team of pathologists had established that he got a fracture on the right ankle joint in July. “It was a simple fracture, which was being managed at Ruby Medical Centre by an orthopaedic surgeon.”
“They put a pop cast on his leg and managed him as an outpatient with regular reviews,” Enanga said.
Lokech was reportedly encouraged to do mild exercises while at home.
According to Enanga, when the pain in the right leg started increasing, Lokech notified Khingi, who scheduled an appointment for him for that Saturday morning.
“Shortly after, the victim started facing breathing problems and again called his personal doctor, who rushed to the home, but found the victim breathing his last,” he added. “During the autopsy, pathologists opened the right lower leg, which got injured and found a very big blood clot that had formed in one of the big blood vessels.”
“They further opened the chest and found part of the big clot in the lungs.
As a result, the vessels in both lungs were blocked, leading to a shortage of breath and subsequent death. It was thus concluded as death due to natural causes,” Enanga explained.
Who was Lokech?
Born in 1963, Lokech joined the Uganda People’s Defence Force (UPDF) in the 1990s.
He actively took part in the battles in northern Uganda, DR Congo, as well as in Somalia. He commanded the 65th battalion during the battles in Kisangani in 2001.
Lokech served in the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM), where he commanded a major offensive that saw al-Shabaab militants chased from Mogadishu and earning himself the tag, ‘Lion of Mogadishu’.
He was again in Somalia between 2017 and 2018 as a contingent commander. He also served at the Uganda Mission in Russia.
Upon assuming duties as deputy Police chief, Lokech aggressively embarked on the hunt for armed criminals.
Lokech’s last press address was at the Police headquarters in Naguru, Kampala on the breakthrough in investigations of the June 1 attack on works minister Gen. Edward Katumba Wamala that left his daughter and driver dead.
Lokech’s address came after the Police shot dead three of the suspected attackers in Namuwongo, a city slum, as they allegedly attempted to snatch a firearm and flee from security.
Lokech was scheduled to address the press on July 13, but left in haste, asking Enanga to read his statement.
In the statement, Lokech named Sheikh Abu Ubaida Badir Diin Bukenya as the most wanted criminal mastermind in the country, also allegedly behind the Katumba attack.
Who will replace Lokech?
Several senior security personnel have expressed interest in replacing Lokech, including lobbying for the post, according to sources.
The Deputy Inspector General of Police is the chairman of the police finance committee, whose institution has a sh900b budget, and he/she is also responsible for deployment in the law enforcement agency.