Coronavirus curfew: Police officers detained for torturing woman

Ms Nakate (L), who was reportedly tortured by security operatives, being attended to by a nurse at the police clinic. State House photo

Kampala-Police have arrested two of their colleagues and a member of a village defence unit who reportedly beat up a pregnant woman after accusing her of flouting orders against crowding in bars and public spaces.

According to a statement by the Presidential Press Unit, the arrest followed a Saturday directive by President Museveni on receiving reports of the alleged beating and torture of Ms Mercy Nakate by the security operatives.

Ms Nakate, 23, a resident of Busega, Kibumbiro village in Rubaga Division, Kampala, was reportedly beaten on March 27 by a group of policemen and village defence unit officials who were conducting a patrol.

According to Ms Nakate, who is seven-months pregnant, on the fateful night she had moved out of her house to buy a herbal remedy (emumbwa), when rain forced her to seek shelter at a common makeshift socialisation facility used by residents.

"It was then that the policemen who were on patrol found us and immediately began beating us. The other people ran away but given my condition, I could not run. They descended on me, hitting and kicking me despite my cries for mercy," she said.

When the barbaric officers left, Ms Nakate's colleagues helped her go home.

The following day, she reported the case at the nearby police station, but the officer in charge reportedly convinced her to drop the matter in exchange for medical support.

However, when Mr Museveni learnt about the incident on Friday, he directed Lt Col Edith Nakalema, the head of the State House Anti-Corruption Unit, to investigate the matter.

Subsequently, detectives were dispatched to Kibumbiro Village.

They arrested Constables Francis Mpande and Noah Massajjage, who were in charge of the patrol exercise.

A one Asiimwe Junior, a member of a village defence unit, was also arrested.

Police Spokesperson, Mr Fred Enanga confirmed the development, saying the suspects are detained at Nateete Police Station as they await to be charged.

A one Edirisa Kitooke, a Parish Intelligence Security Officer, and another only identified as Ndawula, who were reportedly part of the ferocious operation, are said to be on the run.

On the directive of Mr Museveni, Ms Nakate was taken formedical examination and care by a team led by the Director Police Health Services, Dr Moses Byaruhanga.

The team was directed to attend to her until she gives birth.

While updating the nation on the Covid-19 situation, Mr Museveni warned law enforcers, especially the local defence units, against assaulting and beating people while enforcing the curfew.

He urged the public to report erring security officials and law enforcers to Lt Col Nakalema, on the toll free number: 0800202500 and 0778202500 for WhatsApp.
Uganda on Saturday entered day five out of the 14 days of lockdown and curfew that was announced by Mr Museveni, in a bid to check the spread of the Covid-19 disease, which has become a global pandemic. Uganda has 48 confirmed cases so far with no death.


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