The International Crimes Division of the High Court has sentenced Muhammad Walusansa Muzaaya to 16 years in jail for trafficking 25 children for labor exploitation.     

Justice Andrew Bashaija sentenced Walusansa following a plea bargain agreement entered between him (Walusansa) and Jacquelyn Okui, Senior State Attorney on behalf of the office of the Director of Public Prosecutions.      

According to the court records, between 2010 and 2013 in Butaleja district, Walusansa transported and harbored 25 children on Buvuma Island, to exploit them through deception and abuse. 

The evidence before the court indicates that on July 25th, 2013, Buvuma Police Station received information about Walusansa having 25 children who were not attending school. Upon investigation, the police discovered 39 children on Buvuma Island, working on Walusansa’s maize and rice fields while wearing veils on their heads.

When questioned, Walusansa failed to provide a satisfactory explanation regarding why the children were living with him and who their parents were.

Police and local leaders screened the children, revealing that only nine were the biological children of the convict.

Walusansa claimed that the children had been brought to him for educational purposes. However, investigations revealed that he was neither a licensed teacher nor qualified to teach. The records also indicate that the accused was instructing the children in the Islamic faith, specifically the Asalaf sect.

The prosecution argues that the Asalaf sect is a faction of Al-Qaeda and the rebel Allied Democratic Forces (ADF), both designated as terrorist organizations.

During a search of the accused’s premises, the police recovered exercise books that the children used during the Asalaf instruction sessions.

“Further investigations revealed that the children had been collected at the accused’s home for radicalization and preparation for transportation to the Democratic Republic of Congo- DRC. It also transpired that some of the children’s parents were already in DRC,” reads the case file.    Initially, Walusansa denied the dozens of offenses against him.

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