Uganda’s second most prominent policeman was shot and killed in his car on Friday along with two other officers as he left his home in Kampala, police said.
Assistant Inspector General of Police Andrew Kaweesi served as the force’s spokesman and was one of the country’s most high-profile officers.
“He was shot dead this morning as he was leaving his home coming to work,” Inspector General Kale Kayihura told AFP.
A large crowd of local residents gathered at the scene where the officers’ dead bodies slumped inside a black vehicle, blood pooling under shattered glass alongside the car. The bodies were later taken away.
A local resident described seeing four men on two motorcycles attack the car the police officers were travelling in at around 9:30 am (0630GMT) as they left for work.
“Two motorbike drivers and two men with guns fired at the car. They shot very rapidly with guns that looked like AK47s,” said Mohammad, a motorcycle taxi driver who lives and works in the area.
“The motorbikes came from behind as the car was leaving Kaweesi’s house. The car driver tried to increase speed but they drove past the car and shot into it,” said the 30-year old who declined to give his surname.
“The motorbikes were new and the shooters looked professional. They weren’t wearing masks but I didn’t see their faces because I ran for cover.”
– ‘Shower of bullets’ –
Local mayor Charles Sserunjogi said he heard “a shower of bullets — many shots — from my house nearby”.
He said Kaweesi had lived in the neighbourhood of Kulambiro for about 10 years.
“I don’t believe what I’m seeing right now. I knew Kaweesi well and met with him about a week and a half ago to discuss tarmacking the road he was shot on.”
Kaweesi rose to prominence as he spearheaded the police response to widespread opposition party protests following a controversial 2011 presidential election.
After a stint as commander of Kampala Metropolitan Police he was appointed director of operations and then head of human resources before assuming the role of main police spokesman in August 2016.
He appeared regularly on television talk shows, his most recent appearance being Thursday night on NTV, one of the major private channels in the country.
Kaweesi’s killing resembles the assassinations of other high profile legal and military personnel.
In March 2015 Joan Kagezi, a senior public prosecutor, was shot in the street and the assailant escaped with an accomplice on a motorcycle.
In November last year Ugandan army officer, major Sulaiman Kiggundu — a former Allied Democratic Forces rebel — was shot in his car by gunmen travelling on two motorcycles. Both crimes remain unsolved.