Police have confirmed the death of State Minister for Labour Col(Rtd) Charles Engola Macodwogo who was shot by his bodyguard on Tuesday morning.
In the incident that happened at the minister’s home in Kyanja, it is reported that the UPDF bodyguard went on a shooting spree, shouting his grievances.
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“The man kept on shouting on the streets while shooting “….I work for a whole minister and yet I’m broke..” comedian Patrick Idringi also known as Salvador tweeted.
The bodyguard targeted the minister as he left home for work. In the resultant melee, he first shot two of his fellow UPDF guards who were severely injured.
The armed UPDF guard would later turn the gun onto the minister as he boarded his official vehicle to work later turned the gun on himself.
“This morning we registered a tragic incident that occurred in Kyanja. We would like to confirm that Col(Rtd) Charles Engola was shot dead while entering his vehicle to go for work. The shooting was done by one of his bodyguards at his residence in Kyanja who fired several shots at close range,” Police spokesperson Fred Enanga said on Tuesday morning.
He said after shooting the minister at close range and killing him instantly, the bodyguard then fled the scene to the nearby trading centre along Kyanja ring road where he entered the salon and shot himself dead.
Enanga said the Police deputy Inspector General of Police, Maj Gen Geoffrey Tumusiime Katsigazi and the Criminal Investigations Director, AIGP Tom Magambo have rushed to the scene.
The police spokesperson confirmed the deceased shooter as Private Wilson Sabiti who also injured the minister's aide-de-camp(ADC), Lt Ronald Otim and another unnamed guard to the minister.
“The investigation is currently in early stages of review and to this, we have dispatched crime scene experts using most advanced forensic technology to get what was the cause of this tragic murder”
Whereas eyewitnesses said the soldier was yelling that he had not been paid for a long time, the police spokesperson said it is too early to speculate.
“We don’t want to speculate what could be motivation of this murder but we want to confirm the minister died at the scene.”
Enanga said police is trying to establish the exact number of other bodyguards injured during the shooting spree.
According to an eyewitness , after killing his boss, the deceased UPDF soldier stormed out of the minister’s residence while shooting in the air.
“He ran out of the gate shooting in the air prompting everyone to run for their dear life. The soldier later ran to a nearby salon which was open and it is there that he shot himself dead from. He sat in one of the salon’s chairs and pointed the gun to his neck before finishing himself off,” a neighbour to the deceased’s minister said.
A builder at a nearby building site confirmed that when the shooting spree begun, everyone scampered for their dear lives.
“All the nearby shops were closed and only the salon had one door open. After entering the salon, in a few minutes, we realized blood was flowing from inside,” he said.
Another eyewitness said, "The soldier came shouting that he did not have a problem with civilians. His only problem was with government for not paying him his money. He first tried to enter a supermarket but the people locked themselves inside. This is when he went towards the salon..."
The deceased minister last made a public appearance on Monday during the International Labour Day celebrations in Namutumba district.
Born 64 years ago to Chief (Jago) Nasan Engola and Ketula Engola of Awangi, in Iceme, Oyam district, Charles Engola had a degree in development studies attained from Kampala International University in 2010 and a second degree, a master of Public Administration and Management in 2013 from the same university.
Engola also served in the UPDF where he among other positions was the commander of the 501-brigade headquarters at Opit in Gulu district which played part in fighting Lord’s Resistance Army rebels led by Joseph Kony.
By the time retired in 2007, Engola had reached the rank of colonel in the UPDF.
In politics, Charles Engola was in 2006 elected as the Oyam district LC5 chairman and served in the position for 10 years until 2016 when he tried his shot and won the Oyam North parliamentary seat that he has held until his death.
In June 2016, Engola was appointed by President Museveni as the State Minister for Defence to replace Gen Jeje Odongo, who had been appointed Minister of Internal Affairs.
In 2021, President Museveni transferred Col(Rtd) Engola to the Gender Ministry where he was appointed as the State Minister in charge of Labour, a position he has served in until his death today morning.