Ex-inmate accuses officers of torture

GULU. A 60-year-old farmer has accused prison authorities of ordering for his torture while he was jailed at a correctional facility in northern Uganda.
Mr Uhuru Kibwota, a resident of Pajule Sub-county in Pader District, said at the peak of the Lord’s Resistance Army [LRA] insurgency, fellow inmates tortured him on orders of prisons officials where he was jailed.
Mr Kibwota narrated that all this happened following his wrongful arrest and consequential jailing on allegations that he was a collaborator of the LRA rebels.
Speaking during the International Human Rights Day Commemoration of Gulu District held at Taks Arts Centre in Gulu Town on Thursday, Mr Kibwota revealed that he sustained broken hip bones as a result of the torture.
Mr Kibwota, however, refused to disclose the name of the prison facility or identity of the officer who ordered for his alleged torture for fear of replication.
Despite decades of shielding the information on his alleged torture, Mr Kibwota noted that he will disclose the information to Uganda Human Rights Commission (UHRC) officials.
Mr Kibwota said due to the torture, to date, he experiences chest pain that has rendered him unproductive.
In her response to the allegation raised by Kibwota, the Gulu District prisons commander, Ms Margret Obonyo Orik said prisons as an institution does not condone torture of inmates.
Ms Orik said Uganda prisons will not protect its officers who violate human rights adding that any individual who engages in such act will be held solely responsible.
However, Ms Fiona Opoka, one of UHRC officials in Gulu advised Mr Kibwota to lodge his complaint with their office.
She clarified that they will only pursue the matter if it was alleged to have been committed within five years after the victim lodged the complaint.
The complaint comes in the wake of the torture of Mr Kemis Mayanja, an inmate at Lugore Prison in Palaro Sub-county, Gulu District, in April this year. Mr Mayanja was hospitalised at Gulu Regional Referral Hospital in critical condition following an alleged torture by prison wardens.

Statistics. In May 2015, African Centre for Treatment of Torture (ACTV) said they receive between 1,200 to 1,400 cases of torture every year at their centers in Kamwokya, Kampala and Gulu District respectively.
Spike. According to newly released report on Human Rights by UHRC, abuses by the army on citizens increased by 100 percent over the last one year.
The figure indicates that in 2013, 55 cases were registered against the UPDF if compared to the 111 in 2014 alone.