Uganda People’s Defence Forces (UPDF) has responded to torture allegations raised by Kyadondo East MP Robert Kyagulanyi popularly known as Bobi Wine after his arrest on August 13.
In a statement he posted on his social media platforms last evening, the musician cum politician narrated the horrific abuse he reportedly went through in the hands of security agencies.
Mr Kyagulanyi who is in the U.S where he went for specialised medical care said soldiers using brute force intentionally pulled and squeezed his testicles and bludgeoned him indiscriminately with blunt objects.
His ears were pulled with what he recognized to be pliers and he would later be given forced injections and drugs as he remained handcuffed to bed for days.
“They beat me, punched me, and kicked me with their boots. No part of my body was spared. They hit my eyes, mouth and nose. They hit my elbows and my knees. Those guys are heartless!” he wrote in his first in-person public comments on his plight while in solitary military confinement.
However, the UPDF said last evening that police were already investigating the allegations raised by Mr Kyagulanyi and those found culpable will be punished.
“As promised earlier, we shall avail you all the details of actions we have taken against our officers when the time comes. We don’t torture people. If what Bobi Wine alleges in the statement is true, our investigations will unearth it and make no mistake, every officer will be individually held accountable,” the army spokesperson, Brig Richard Karemire, said.
A combined force of army and police violently grabbed Mr Kyagulanyi and 35 others, among them four MPs and two journalists, from or near hotels in Arua Town on August 13 on allegations that they stoned President Museveni’s motorcade.
They have all been charged with treason after the UPDF General Court Martial dropped charges of illegal possession of firearms against Mr Kyagulanyi, popularly known by his stage name Bobi Wine.
The President was in Arua to drum up support for NRM candidate Nusura Tiperu on the last day of Arua Municipality by-election campaigns while the Opposition politicians canvassed votes for Independent candidate Kassiano Wadri, who eventually won the ballot from behind bars.
In yesterday’s statement, Mr Kyagulanyi said prowling soldiers broke into various rooms and savagely assaulted several occupants, among them a woman, to reveal his location. “Up to now, that is one experience that haunts me; that I could hear a woman cry for help, yet I was so vulnerable and helpless. I could not help her,” he stated.
After fruitless searches, the lawmaker said soldiers, who hurled insults and profanities at their subdued victims, struck open the door of the room he hid in. One placed him at gunpoint and he used his hand to shield his head from a vicious iron bar strike by another.
“The second blow came straight to my head on the side of my right eye. He hit me with this iron bar and I fell down. In no minute, all these guys were on me, each one looking for the best place to hurt,” he wrote.
There was pandemonium and agonising wails in the corridors and outside the hotel. Yasin Kawuma, who sat inside the MP’s Tundra vehicle parked outside Pacific Hotel, had already been shot dead.
Mr Kyagulanyi said the deceased on the fateful day was not his chauffer, dovetailing with a previous account a female witness grazed by the killer bullet offered to this newspaper.