Ugandan court jails Muslim leader for life


A Ugandan court sentenced a Muslim group leader and three associates to life in prison after their conviction on terrorism charges related to threats to harm rivals, a judicial official said.

Over the last few years more than a dozen senior Muslim figures in Uganda were killed, most gunned down by unknown assailants on motorcycle taxis.

Sheikh Mohammad Yunus Kamoga, who heads Tabliqs, a radical Muslim faction, and 13 others were arrested and charged with terrorism and the murder of other Islamic group leaders.

On Monday six of them were convicted on terrorism charges but all were cleared of murder.

In a high court session on Tuesday, Kamoga and three others were sentenced to life while two associates were given 30 years each, according to judiciary spokesman Solomon Muyita.

The court acquitted the group of murder because prosecutors failed to place any of them at the crime scenes, he said.

Local media quoted defence lawyers saying they would appeal the convictions.

About 13% of Uganda’s 35 million population is Muslim. The east African state’s Muslim community has various factions that often feud over issues ranging from differing interpretations of Islam to rows over property and leadership.

Uganda has only suffered one major Islamist militant attack – in 2010 when back-to-back bombings in Kampala killed at least 76 people.

Al Shabaab, an al Qaeda-affiliated militant group based in Somalia, claimed responsibility. Uganda’s military is deployed in Somalia as part of an African Union-mandated AMISOM peacekeeping force.