Another Ugandan identified as George Lubega was arrested early this month at Guangzhou Airport, China with ‘high grade cocaine’.
According to the Permanent Secretary Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Mr James Mugume, Lubega was apprehended on July 2, two weeks after the authorities in the same city executed two Ugandans for trafficking drugs. This was after the two were found with high grade cocaine with a street value of more than Shs6 billion .
Mr Mugume confirmed that Lubega was already in detention as he awaits the law to take its course and that his family had been informed about his arrest.
On May 21, a one Omar Ddamulira was executed while another Ugandan identified as Ham Andrew Ngobi was killed on June 24 and their bodies were cremated and are still in China.
“By June, Uganda’s embassy in China had compiled a list of 23 Ugandans who had been sent on death row in China over drug trafficking while another 22 were serving life in jail over similar offences,’ Mr Mugume said.
Uganda’s Ambassador to China Charles Wagidoso said most Ugandans caught in the drugs trade, which is banned in many countries, are mere conduits of bigger players.
He disclosed that whereas China is known for tough sanctions on drug traffickers, many of the Ugandan suspects have had their death sentences commuted to life in prison or long jail terms on grounds that they are not professionals but victims of tough economic circumstances.
He added that in June last year, a 39-year-old Ugandan man, Bashir Gadafi Polikoko, was arrested at Ngurah Rai International Airport in Indonesia with 66 capsules of crystal methamphetamine in his stomach (1 kg of drugs) bringing the total number of Ugandans being held in China prisons over drugs to 70.
Mr Wagidoso explained that the fate of 27 other suspects hangs in balance as they await judgment over their cases and that of those convicted, 23 are female while 26 are male.
Last week,Justice and Constitutional Affairs minister Kahinda Otafiire said the government could not do much to save traffickers in China since the country was acting within its laws as a sovereign state to execute drug traffickers.
“Ugandans should stop smuggling narcotics to China, they will be hanged. If you don’t know how to swim don’t go into the swimming pool. China is a sovereign nation we can only plead for mercy,”
justice minister kahinda otafiire