• Sun. May 28th, 2023

UGANDA, Kampala | Real Muloodi News | LATEST UPDATE: 10 January 2023: On Friday, Uganda Police arrested Elvis Francis Juuko, the event’s MC and a key suspect in the deadly stampede that claimed the lives of ten people at the New Year’s Eve party at Freedom City Mall in Kampala.

This was disclosed by Kampala Metropolitan Police spokesman Patrick Onyango on Monday, who said that Elvis who had gone on the run after the tragic incident.

Juuko was arrested in his hideout in Mityana, about 60 kilometres (37 miles) west of Kampala.

“Juuko has been brought back to Kampala and is in police custody. He has been charged with rash and negligent acts,” Onyango said.

According to the police, before the ten unfortunate victims met their tragic deaths, the MC told all the partygoers to leave the performance hall at once, who crammed through a small single exit to view the midnight fireworks display, which sparked a stampede.

To stop attendees who had not paid from entering the packed venue within the mall, the concert organisers had shut off alternative entrances.

Mr Onyango did not say when the suspect will appear before court.

NEW UPDATE: 5 January 2023: Police have issued further summons over the New Year’s Eve tragedy at Freedom City Mall, including the proprietor of the Freedom City venue, tycoon John Sebalamu.

Police Spokesperson, Fred Enanga confirmed in a statement dated January 4, 2023, that those summoned for questioning include John Sebalamu, the managers, other organizers of the event, the masters of ceremony, ushers, bouncers and private security guards who were dedicated to the event.

Also summoned are police officers and other security personnel who were deployed to secure the event.

Enanga indicated that at a later stage, the task team actively investigating the tragic new year concert incident shall also listen to the parents of some of the children to establish how they separated from them and got trapped in the passageway and gates.

Enanga said more progressive updates will be communicated accordingly.

UPDATE: 4 January 2023: Abbey Musinguzi, alias Abitex, an event promoter and talent manager, has been remanded to prison until January 10, 2023, due to the Freedom City Mall Stampede, which occurred on January 1st, on Sunday.

The promoter was charged with nine counts of negligence for his role in causing the deaths of ten victims in the New Year’s Eve tragedy. The case was heard in Makindye Magistrate’s Court on the morning of Wednesday, January 4, 2023, with Judge Igga Adiru presiding over the case.

The charges state that Abitex endangered lives by blocking off the venue exits and entrances, and leaving only one small entrance/exit gate that was not sufficient to allow 20,000 people to exit safely.

Abitex will be detained in Kitalya Prison until January 10th, 2023, while his bail application is reviewed.

John Sebalamu, the venue’s owner, as well as his manager and the police officers who were contracted to provide security and handle all problems connected to crowd management, have not been charged, according to Erias Lukwago, Abitex’s lawyer who is also the Kampala Lord Mayor.

Abitex Promotions
Lawyer Erias Lukwago with Abbey Musinguzi alias Abitex, the event’s promoter after the court session.

UPDATE: 2 January 2023: Police have arrested Abbey Musinguzi, also known as Abitex, the promoter of the New Year concert at Freedom City Mall that led to a stampede that has so far killed 10 concertgoers, mostly children.

According to police, the concert organised by the much sought-after promoter was parked to capacity with performances from various artists.

Police say the packed crowd of about 400 revellers became dangerous when they converged from the concert hall, through a narrow corridor in a rush for fireworks, to the only entry/exit point, after event security had blocked all the other entrances.

Consequently, the narrow passageway became an areal bottleneck in which several victims became trapped, and others were trampled upon.

The police have released the names of the victims who lost their lives including:

  • Daniel Kibuuka, a 10-year-old, male juvenile of Gangu “B” zone,
  • Daniella Kibuuka, a 14-year-old, female juvenile of Gangu “B” zone,
  • Ibrahim Kizito, an 11-year-old, male juvenile of Kyebando Erisa zone,
  • Nazima Hakimati, a 13-year-old, female juvenile of Kyebando – Erisa zone,
  • Viola Nakanwagi, an 18-year-old female adult of Watuba-Matugga,
  • Mary Namyalo, a 30-year-old hairdresser in the Ndejje-Luga zone,
  • Hadijah Nakakande, a 16-year-old, female juvenile of Massajja “B” zone,
  • Margret Nakatumba, a 29 year old, female adult of Kanyanya,
  • Safik Mwanje.
  • and an unidentified juvenile.

“The celebrations were progressing well, untill that point where the Master of Ceremonies, recklessly made an announcement for the concert goers to move out and watch the fireworks display in the parking area, and thereafter return to the concert,” said Police Spokesperson Fred Enanga.

Police confirm the event organisers, Abitex Promotions, and their private security was in charge of the inner security. Whereas external and perimeter security was manned by the police and other security personnel, due to the existing counter-terrorism threat environment.

A thorough police investigation by specialist teams from CID, Forensic, Counter Terrorism and Crime Intelligence continues to take place.

Particular areas of interest are the access and exit controls, the safety measures against crowd controls, disorders and stampedes, evacuation plans, paramedics and ambulances on site, the number of stewards/ushers dedicated to the event and the number of people at the concert among others.

“All persons found culpable shall be brought to book,” said Fred Enanga.

President Museveni Mourns the Lives of 10 Revelers

President Museveni said the stampede was a terrible tragedy and offered his deepest sympathies and condolences to the families of the deceased persons.

The president pledged USh5 million to each of the families who lost loved ones to support them in burial arrangements.

The president also agreed to undertake a thorough investigation and produce a detailed report about the events that took place that lead to the stampede.

Vice President Jessica Alupo delivered the president’s message today during a visit to the venue where the fateful event took place.

A total of 18 people were evacuated for treatment, of which 10 are confirmed dead. The other 8 have since been discharged.

ORIGINAL ARTICLE: 1 January 2023 At least nine people, several of them children, suffocated to death in a stampede that occurred at Freedom City Mall as revellers rang in the New Year, police said Sunday.

The incident occurred following a firework display just after midnight, as crowds returning to a concert inside the mall got stuck in a narrow corridor.

Kampala Metropolitan Police (KMP) deputy police spokesperson, Luke Owoyesigyire, said, “the incident occurred at midnight when the event’s MC (Masters of Ceremony) encouraged attendees to go outside and watch the fireworks display. After the display ended, a stampede ensued, resulting into the instant deaths of five people.”

Owoyesigyire added “juveniles” were among the victims, without providing further details on their ages.

Patrick Onyango, the KMP Spokesperson, said, “After the fireworks display, they were told to go back. That was where the stampede started, because they were rushing inside back for the concert to continue. Five people, mostly children, juveniles, were stepped on, suffocation entered in, and instantly five children died.”

According to Owoyesigyire, emergency responders arrived on the scene and transported the injured individuals to the hospital. Four others died of their injuries at the hospital where they had been taken for treatment. There was no immediate information on other injured people.

The concert inside Freedom City Mall
The concert inside Freedom City Mall. Image source: New Vision

One of the revellers at the scene who was caught up in the crush, Ramathan Napongo, narrates how his friend died ” I lost a friend of mine by the name of Margaret – I was with her she was enjoying, she was having fun, but [in the crush] due to loss of breath, she lost her breath and eventually she died.”

The Katwe Territorial Police are investigating an incident of rush and neglect. Police said the bodies have been transferred to City Mortuary Mulago.

Freedom City Mall.
Freedom City Mall. Image source: Twitter/@freedomcityug

Freedom City Mall in Namasuba along the Kampala-Entebbe Road is owned by property tycoon John Sebalamu. The mall is a popular venue for music concerts and new year celebrations. This year’s ‘party after party’ concert was organised by Abbey Musinguzi, popularly known as Abitex.

The event hosted musicians who included; Eddy Kenzo, Pallaso, Fik Femaica, Grenade, Geoffrey Lutaaya, Irene Namatovu, Chris Evans, Carol Nantongo, Yaled, Liam Voice, Feffe Bussi, Hajji Haruna Mubiru, Nina Roz, and Ykee Benda. Others singers were Fresh Kid, Halima Namukula, Martha Mukisa, and stand-up comedians.

John Sebalamu could not be reached for comment by news time.


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