Otafiire to police: I’m tired of unlawful arrests and false imprisonment

Gen. Kahinda Otafiire

What you need to know:

  • The minister’s remarks come as the country reels from the rampant unlawful arrests and abductions by armed men believed to be security operatives.

As cases of unlawful arrests and abductions by security operatives continue to be reported in the country, the Minister of Internal Affairs, Maj Gen Kahinda Otafiire has tasked the Inspector General of Police, Martins Okoth Ochola to ensure that thorough investigations are conducted before any suspect is apprehended.

According to the minister, five out of 10 people arrested unlawfully later turn out to be innocent.

“I have heard many complaints of people being arrested without proper investigations. You (police) receive reports, before investigating, the first thing you do is just rush and arrest. And it looks like five out of 10 people you arrest are actually innocent. You arrest and then investigate. Bwana IGP tell these police officers that it should be the other way round. They have to investigate and then arrest. Tell those gentlemen that I am tired of unlawful arrests and false imprisonment. When you do that (unlawful arrest), not only do you break the law, but you also commit the crime of abuse of office.  You're using your office to hurt an innocent person,” Gen Otafiire said.

He made the remarks at Jinja Road Police in Kampala during the launch of a health screening exercise at police stations on Tuesday.

He warned that perpetrators in the police force will be held personally accountable for any unlawful arrests and detentions.

“From now on, let's agree that arrests shall follow investigations and if anybody goes to court for unlawful arrest and false imprisonment and they succeed, you will be on your own. Tell those police officers that they will be on their own. They (victims) will go to court, take civil action against you and you'll be on your own. This is because not every suspect is a criminal. So, I'm calling for discipline, especially in the police force,” Gen Otafiire said.

The minister’s remarks come as the country reels from the rampant unlawful arrests and abductions by armed men believed to be security operatives.

Already, the opposition National Unity Platform (NUP) party has alleged that security forces have abducted more than a dozen of its supporters, resurrecting dreaded memories of enforced disappearances of its members before, during and after last year’s general elections.

The party leader, Mr Robert Kyagulanyi, an artiste-turned-politician and better known by the stage name Bobi Wine, in multiple media posts said 15 of his supporters, picked up between this month and the last one, were being held incommunicado.

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