Surveillance and cyber security entrepreneur murdered in Uganda
In February 2018 a man was found dead from a hotel in Kampala, the capital of Uganda. The entrepreneur was in the country on a business trip representing a number of companies working in the security field. One of the companies was Patria, partly owned by the state of Finland. Two high ranking directors have been let go from the company have been let go after the incident.
After the deceased was found in the Pearl of Africa hotel on February 5th, investigations have proceeded and the locals are how investigating the death as a murder. Police of Finland is now assisting the local authorities to investigate the death of the Finnish citizen. The man had entered the East African country with falsified documents. An invitation letter from the chief of the Internal Security Organization (ISO).
ISO is the organization is responsible for counter intelligence and providing intelligence to Uganda's policy makers. The fake invitation letter also refers to Suvi Lindén, a former minister in Finland and an former envoy of the United Nations. The salesman and Lindén had entered the country together, with plans to visit to Mozambique other African countries later. Ugandan reporters claiming to be from the Kampala Police interviewed Mrs Lindén.
That interview yielded an audio recording detailing the reasons for the visit of the minister and the entrepreneur to Uganda:
We were here to open doors. This was our first visit, and we were supposed to map any business possibilities here [in Uganda]. My background is in telecommunications, and his [the business man] has a history in cyber security. He was here to represent a handful of Finnish companies who are… how would I say, working in the security industry.
According to reports from Finnish newspaper Helsingin Sanomat the forged invitation letter stated that the reasons for the business man to visit the country was to sell and market cyber security services, devices and software. Including network tracking software, media control and encryption equipment as well as surveillance systems for tracking citizens. Uganda has a repressive regime where there is use for such tools to maintain control over it's citizens.
Since the civil war ended in Uganda in 2006 the country has been under the control of President Yoweri Museveni. Citizens kept on a tight leach, and in this case it is reported that a journalist who was reporting on the original story was abducted by ISO personnel. Some days after the Finn died, a citizen of Sweden was also found dead under suspicious circumstances. On February 17th an American tourist was also found dead in Uganda, but the incident seems unrelated.
Some have suggested that the doing maybe doings of the neighbouring country of Rwanda. An online publication stated that this is an attempt to destabilise the government of Uganda. This may or may not be true, but on Monday February 19th Kampala police confirmed the toxicology report verified that there were foreign substances in the body. The police have arrested a number of people related to the case, some of whom have been questioned before.
What now seems like a plot from a crime novel, complete with villains and mystery is yet to get closure. What is a fact that at least one person has been killed somehow related to politics in Uganda, but whether it is a doing of a repressive government trying to limit and control it's populace or just a coincidence is not yet certain. What is sure is that the matter deserves attention, for the population of Uganda to be treated respectively and for foreigners to conduct business in the country.