Son’s Brutal Murder: Ugandan Sees Cover-up

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A Ugandan couple living in Sweden are mourning the loss of their son, brutally murdered in what they believe was a racially motivated attack in the UK where he attended University. The parents say what makes the killing more painful is cover-up by British police and the murdered son’s school.

Lazarus Kulaba Malingha and Lydia Kulaba, Uganda nationals say they weren’t told about their son Gershom Mutahi Buyunza Kulaba’s disappearance for several weeks by police in Sheffield, U.K., where he attended a local university, hoping to become a lawyer. The son went missing sometime in October.

“This was strange for the University authorities not to inform us or report to the police after learning the disappearance of my son,” says a distraught Kulaba Malingha the father of the murdered boy, in an interview conducted at their residence in Sodermalm, Central Stockholm, in Sweden. “They don’t know how we are coping-up with this trauma. I have heard many people both here in Sweden and UK putting announcements on both radios and television about the disappearance of their beloved ones, but I was refrained from doing so by Sheffield Police.”

The father says he still can’t figure out why Police told him not to publicly announce a search for his son. “All murder cases are investigated and CCT cameras are monitored right from the date of disappearance of someone, but these people didn’t put all that into consideration to find the facts,” he says.

The son, 22, attended Sheffield University, the parents and the Coroner’s Office say. He vanished October 4th, 2006, but the university authority never reported the matter to police, says the father. In fact, it was the parents themselves who first reported the disappearance to police on October 14th, 2006, the parents say. Both traveled to Britain in a futile attempt to locate their son.

“After inquiring from the University and several attempts of finding the way how my son disappeared, on November 17th, 2006, a female detective, Ms. Chappell told me that, ‘I know your son is alive, I can assure you,’” the father recalls, in the tearful interview with this newspaper. “If these people were not racists they would have accepted my plea to put the announcements in the media.”

To compound the mystery, University authorities deny that the son was a student at Sheffield University. “He was not a student here and for that reason we have nothing to do with his death,” says Lindsey Bird, a press officer, to The Black Star. “He had left the University, he just decided to leave.”

Ironically, a spokesperson at the Coroner's Office, Stella Gerrard, confirmed to The Black Star that the son was a Sheffield student. “Yes, he was a student at Sheffield University and we have opened an inquest in the murder of Gershom Muyunza,” she says. “The inquest into the murder of Gershom Muyunza started on January 12, 2007.”

The Coroners’ office is an independent establishment with the role of maintaining direct contact with HM’s Government.

The parents say police finally said they discovered the body of Gershom on December 31st. The body was so badly decomposed that UK authorities rejected the parents’ request to view the body, raising further questions. The parents don’t even have information on the autopsy. “In a normal procedure the next of kin is entitled to view the body,” says the father, who is convinced his son was killed in a racially motivated attack. He blames police for not treating the disappearance as a high priority matter.

“We were just informed on December 31st, that, the police used the sniffer dogs to discover the body of my son,” adds the father. “Why didn’t they use the same dogs to find out the body before it decomposed?” He says his son enrolled at Sheffield in 2003.

Asked why the parents weren’t allowed to view the body, Gerrard, the spokesperson for the Coroner’s Office says,  “Given the state in which the body was discovered, in this circumstance it was difficult. But the body was identified by the dental records, to assure you, the state in which it was found wasn’t appropriate for the parents to view.”

The mother, Lydia Malinga is a sister to Entebbe Mayor Steven Kabuye. The parents have been in touch with the Swedish Police and Foreign Affairs Ministry to secure the return of their son’s body to Sweden for burial. They are concerned that Police wanted to shield them from the fact that the son’s body might reveal damaging clues.

The son had been well liked and very spiritual, even establishing a very strong fellowship organization at Kyrka Adventist Church-Stockholm, in Sweden. “The people here, particularly the Adventist Church where he’s been a member have been very supportive in these difficult days. Since we learnt the death of our son, they have been bringing us flowers and comforting us,” says the father, who hails from Mbale district-Uganda.

The Coroner’s office has agreed to keep this newspaper posted on information about the investigation while cautioning that it may take long.

The Black Star couldn’t get comments from detectives –including Steve Strecker and Phillip Duffy- who were involved on the case, by press time.

Europe Correspondent, Miwambo, is based in London.

Publisher’s Note: Please stay tuned for follow up reports by Miwambo. Anyone with knowledge about the murder can contact which information will be forwarded to U.K. authorities.

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