Uganda’s lead prosecutor in the ongoing trial of 13 men accused of participating in 2010 Al-Shebab bombings that killed 76 people was shot dead Monday, police said.
Joan Kagezi, acting assistant director of public prosecution, was murdered by men on a motorbike as she drove home in a suburb of the capital, Kampala police spokesman Patrick Onyango said. “They were trailing her on a motorcycle…. They shot her dead.”
Her current cases included the trial of men allegedly linked to July 2010 suicide bombings targeting football fans watching the World Cup final at a restaurant and a rugby club in Kampala. Somalia’s Al-Qaeda-affiliated Shebab militants claimed responsibility for the attack, the group’s first outside Somalia.
The trial of the accused — seven Kenyans, five Ugandans and one Tanzanian — began earlier this month at Uganda’s High Court on a range of charges including terrorism, murder and membership of a terrorist organisation.
All but one have also been charged with belonging to the Shebab. The case was due to resume on Tuesday.
Jane Kajuga, spokeswoman for the office of the director of public prosecution, confirmed the death of Kagezi, lead prosector in the bombing trial, and who also led the prosecution’s anti-terrorism and war crimes section.
“She has been shot dead… but details are so far scanty,” Kajuga told the NTV Uganda station.
The state-owned New Vision newspaper said the gunmen had attacked her car as it slowed down for speed bumps, and that the lawyer died on the spot.
The July 2010 bombings were one of the deadliest attacks by the Shebab, who also carried out the 2013 assault on the Westgate Mall in Nairobi, Kenya, killing at least 67 people.
Uganda and Kenya have contributed thousands of soldiers to the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM), which was established to fight the Islamists and protect the internationally recognised government.
Al-Shebab continues to target countries in the region.
In September Ugandan security forces seized suicide vests and explosives during a raid on a suspected Shebab cell in Kampala.
Last week Uganda said it was boosting security over threats by the Shebab, after the US embassy in Kampala warned its citizens of a possible imminent terror attack.