Army arrested me for visiting jailed husband, says woman

Sunday March 15 2020
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Speaking out. Ms Fatuma Nassanga. PHOTO BY ALEX ESAGALA

A woman has decried the delayed justice for her husband whom she says was arrested three years ago on accusations of having connections with the illegal repatriation of Rwandan refugees from Uganda.
Ms Fatuma Nassanga, a mother of five, said her husband Abdnoor Ssemujju, was arrested on December 6, 2017 in Kireka, Wakiso District and taken to Chieftaincy for Military Intelligence (CIM) headquarters before being transferred to Makindye Military Barracks.

“My husband is not a soldier. I don’t know why he is being held under military detention. I tried to make sure he gets justice but was instead arrested and ordered to confess that my husband had been used by (Gen) Kale Kayihura (former Inspector General of Police) to illegally repatriate Rwandan refugees,” Mr Nassanga said.

In August 2018, Gen Kayihura was charged with failing to protect war materials, supervise police officers, and abetting kidnap.

In June 2018, Mr Ssemujju, also known as Minaana, a police informer, was charged together with Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Nixon Agasirwe and remanded by the General Court Martial in connection with accusations of kidnapping Rwandan national Vincent Kaliisa in October 2013, who was deported to Rwanda.

Other suspects in the case were ex-commandant of Police Professional Standards Unit Joel Aguma, AIP Benon Atwebembeire, Sgt Abel Tumukunde, formerly attached to the Police Flying Squad, ASP James Magada and D/Cpl Amon Kwarisiima attached to Crime Intelligence. Others are Congolese national Bahati Mugenga Pacifique, aka Illunga Monga, SPC Faisal Katende and Rwandan national Rene Rutagungira.

They were also charged with unlawful possession of ammunitions, including four grenades.
Ms Nassanga told Sunday Monitor on Friday that her husband, who was working at a washing bay in Kireka, has only been produced once in court for mention of charges against him.

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“We are suffering, our children have dropped out of school and we have been chased from the house (due to failure to pay rent). We call upon the President to intervene in the matter,” she said.

However, UPDF deputy spokesperson, Lt Col Deo Akiiki, advised the family to seek intervention from court.

“By all standards we are not supposed to comment about matters before court. We all know where Nixon and his co-accused are and their cases are complicated, the families prayers should all be address to the due process of the court.

“If he is not being accessed, there is what we call a habeas corpus...they should seek that. Those people have big cases to answer and family should know that it is not a matter of running to the media. Justice is not a one day thing and it does not come that easily.”

Nassanga said she has since been stopped from visiting her hypertensive and diabetic husband in Makindye Military Barracks on allegations that she wants to poison him after she took to him salt plus, which she said helps him to contain his blood pressure and blood sugar levels.

“I was kept in a cold room for eight days because I had gone to visit my husband in Makindye. Different officers came in asked me to plead with my husband to accept that he had been used to repatriate Rwandan nationals and tell them his connections with the country’s president,” Ms Nassanga claimed.

“They told me to eat the food that I had brought for my husband and I did. But they went ahead and arrested me,” she added.

Background
In 2018 prosecution stated that Ssemujju and his co-accused on October 25, 2013 at Kamengo, in Mpigi District while in unlawful possession of firearms and grenades, ordinarily a monopoly of defence forces, conveyed Lt Joel Mutabaazi without his consent to Rwanda.
Prosecution further alleged that on the same day, the group also took a one Jackson Karemeera, also known as Ndinga to Rwanda.

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