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Man who staged son’s burial arrested after months of hiding

Mourners and police officer display an empty casket in which a father had put a log as he staged his son’s burial ceremony on October 16, 2018. Photos by Ivan Kimbowa

Police in Masaka District are holding a man who disappeared on October 16 this year after stage managing a burial ceremony of his son.
Mr Ivan Kafeero, 30, staged the burial ceremony at Lusaka Village in Kalisizo Rural Sub County, Kyotera District.
He allegedly hired Uganda Funeral Services staff to manage the ceremony.
Mourners became angry after the funeral services’ staff tried to block them from viewing the body on grounds that they were acting on the orders of Mr Kafeero.

They were saved from the angry mourners by police detectives who arrived on time and asked them to open the casket that purportedly contained the body. To everyone’s surprise, they found a log instead of a body. Mr Kafeero had already fled after sensing danger, and had since been on the run, according to police.

Mr Ronald Bogere, the head of Crime Investigations Department in the Southern Region confirmed his arrest on Thursday, saying they are processing his file so as to take him to court.
“We will hold him in our custody until investigations are complete before we submit his file to the Directorate of Public Prosecution (DPP),” he said.

At the fake burial, a wreath and a portrait photo that indicated the name of the deceased as Junior Elly Kabugo, his date of birth and death had been placed on top of the casket.

Upon arrest, Mr Kafeero reportedly told police that he staged his son’s burial to test the residents’ love for him.
Mr Kafeero is a businessman and owns another residence in Kampala where he spends most of his time.

“When you take long without visiting your home village, it becomes hard to determine whether people still love you the way they did during your childhood. I had to stage the burial to see how many would turn up to comfort me,” Mr Kafeero is quoted as saying in the police statement.
He further told police that the portrait he put on the casket was one of his photos taken during his childhood, adding that there was no way he could involve his child in such “drama”.
At the burial, a wreath and a portrait photo that indicated the name of the deceased as Junior Elly Kabugo, his date of birth and death had been placed on top of the casket.

However, Kafeero’s close friend who asked not to be named told Daily Monitor that he had accumulated debts from some of his friends and perhaps this was his only way out.
“He has many debts and by staging such a ceremony, he must have been targeting condolence money to clear them,” he said
Police said he’s likely to be charged with being a public nuisance given the evidence gathered so far.

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