85 NUP party supporters released

NUP leaders Francis Zaake (left), party secretary general Lewis Rubongoya (2nd left), party spokesperson Joel Ssenyonyi (3rd left) and other party members wear T-shirts emblazoned with pictures of their supporters who are still in detention in Kampala yesterday. PHOTO / ABUBAKER LUBOWA

What you need to know:

  • Despite the release of some supporters, NUP party says the abductions are still continuing.

At least 85 National Unity Platform (NUP) supporters have been released after spending more than four months under security detention around the country.

Mr Joel Ssenyonyi, the NUP spokesperson said yesterday that they have been documenting cases for over three months now.  

“The problem is that when the people are released, they are not free to speak so we have documented a few cases and we shall need to go down into the homes of those people to find out how many have been released,”  Mr Ssenyonyi said in an interview.  

“This brutality has been ongoing since weeks after Mr. Museveni tasked security forces to urgently step up and arrest anyone that is opposing the current regime. This order does not only cover those in Uganda but also targets Ugandans in the diaspora.” 
We have been told by reliable sources that human rights activists highly targeted are;  Fred Kajjubi Lumbuye, Joel Ssemakula, Martin Byakuleka, Herman Ainebyona,  Aisha Nakijoba Mulumba, Henry Ssali, Isabella Elizabeth Namuswe Morris Komakech, Maurice Ogili, and Doreen Kajumba among many others.

In January 2021, 19 people were arrested in Kyotera District by unknown gunmen who are said to have taken them to unknown destinations.  

On their release, three months later, Mr Emmanuel Ssgiryinnya, one of the abductees, said they were dropped in different places before they reached out to their families.

In February, Daily Monitor launched a series of stories where parents and relatives of the people who had been arrested narrated the circumstances under which their beloved ones had been picked up.

 The stories, which were published for over three weeks, became an interest to the public with leaders demanding explanations from the government.   

A week later, the Minister of Internal Affairs, Gen Jejje Odongo, tabled in Parliament a list of 177 NUP supporters who were held in different places. This was about a quarter of NUP paty list that had 680 names of missing persons.  

Of the government list, only 71 names appeared on the NUP list, leaving the whereabouts of 106 people unknown.   

A week later, the NUP party president, Mr Robert Kyagulanyi alias, Bobi Wine, indicated that since he called for peaceful protests, the number of supporters who are being held had risen from 423 to 512.

 He said 230 had been arrested and detained in different police stations and 400 were tried in military courts.

Mr Kyagulanyi also indicated that only 27 have been released on bail while 44 have resurfaced from unknown places and are undergoing rehabilitation across the country. 

Mr Ssenyonyi said the abductions have still continued despite interventions by different stakeholders. 

“That notwithstanding, the abductions have still continued and people are being picked from their homes and places of work,” Mr Ssenyonyi said.

Mityana Municipality MP, Mr Francis Zaake said: “The demand for the release of those in illegal custody will not end at us talking about it here, we shall act as well. I know the suffering they are going through and we demand that government comes out clearly and release all political prisoners because they have committed no offense.”