The boxing fraternity and sports lovers in Uganda are in shock after retired boxer, Isaac Ssenyange aka Zebra, was gunned down in the wee hours of Wednesday morning.
Unknown assailants raided Ssenyange’s home minutes after the deceased and his colleagues had finished watching an English Premier League match between Brighton and Arsenal in Uganda’s capital Kampala.
Robert Kabwani, a boxer and former student of Ssenyange said they were together last evening but he did not inform him on whether he was having death threats. “I could not believe when I received a call that Zebra had died. He was my coach and a friend. He enticed us join boxing and we don’t regret,” Kabwani said.
Eric Kakooza, a resident of Bwaise III Parish, in which the deceased’s home was located said gunmen came in two numberless drones and ordered all people to enter their houses.
Kakooza added that the assailants started by sealing off all routes and corridors leading to and from Bwaise III Parish. Kakooza said Zebra’s killers seem to have waited for him to return from watching the football match.
“They knocked on his house’s front door and when his son looked through the window, he saw gun wielding men. Ssenyange tried to run away through behind gates but the route he took ended briefly and he had to come back,” Kakooza said.
Ssenyange, according to locals turned back with his hands raise up as a sign of surrender. He knelt down and asked for mercy. Locals add that one of the killers asked him “are you Zebra” and he answered in affirmative.
It was at that point he was shot four times in the head and chest. The assailants afterwards went to his young brother’s home and ransacked the house. “They told us ‘Mutwalibu [Ssenyange’s brother] is lucky because he is not here.” The family said.
Assistant Superintendent of Police –ASP Luke Owoyesigyire, who is also the Kampala deputy police spokesperson, said detectives from the area police have assigned to trace for Ssenyange’s murderers.
Ssenyange, who was only 39 years old, was once Uganda’s boxing team captain commonly known as The Bombers. Ssenyange famously featured in super heavy fights but later elevated to professional boxing in among other countries The United Kingdom.
In his boxing career, Ssenyange collected 195 wins and 19 losses. He was The Bombers’ captain in All Africa games hosted in Maputo, Mozambique in 2011. In his home village, in Kampala, Ssenyange was a role model to many as several youths have taken on boxing as their career after undergoing through Zebra Boxing Association.