Freedom City Mall owner, police officers summoned over deaths

Freedom City Mall owner, police officers summoned over deaths

Police have summoned the proprietor of Freedom City Mall, Mr John Sebalamu for questioning over the New Year eve stampede that left at least 10 revelers killed.

This comes just hours after events promoter Abbey Musinguzi, commonly known as Abitex, was Tuesday evening arraigned before Makindye Chief Magistrates’ Court and charged with nine counts of rash or negligent acts causing death Contrary to section 277 of the Penal Code Act.

Last moments of stampede victims

“This followed legal guidance from the office of the DPP, after establishing that there were defects in the planning and control of the concert, that cost the lives of concert goers and put others at risk,” police spokesperson Fred Enanga said.
According to him, the managers, other organizers of the event, the masters of ceremony, ushers, bouncers and private security guards who were dedicated to the event have also been summoned for question.

“Also summoned are police officers and other security personnel who were deployed to secure the event,” SCP Enanga said in a Wednesday morning statement, adding that “At a later stage, we shall listen to the parents to some of the children to establish how they separated from them and got trapped in the passageway and gates.”

He said share a comprehensive list of guidelines on various aspects of planning and managing events to avoid a repeat of such tragic incidents.

Presiding Grade One Magistrate Igga Adiru remanded Abitex until January 10 when he will be brought back to court for bail application.
It is alleged that before 2023 could be ushered in, the Master of Ceremonies at the Freedom City Mall event asked the revellers to move out and watch the fireworks.

This saw the revellers rush out through one exit of the six outlets since the five were allegedly locked.

Preliminary investigations show that revellers, mainly children, suffocated. Some died on the spot while others died later in the hospital.

Kampala Lord Mayor Erias Lukwago, who represented Abitex, yesterday wondered why the owner of Freedom City Mall, his manager and the police that had been hired to oversee security that day, were not charged too.

While speaking to NTV-Uganda on Monday, Mr Lukwago claimed that Abitex could have been targeted because he is a known Opposition supporter of the National Unity Platform (NUP).

The government on Monday announced that each family that lost a loved one in the New Year tragedy was to receive Shs5m to assist them with the burial expenses.

Source: Monitor

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