UPDF give police list of missing persons

Tuesday February 23 2021
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UPDF spokesperson Brig Flavia Byekwaso and Police spokesperson Fred Enanga. Photos | File

By Andrew Bagala
By Benson Tumusiime

The Uganda People’s Defence Forces and Special Forces Command have handed over to the police the list of people they arrested and they are being kept in unknown detention centres across the country.

According to a source, the police have accepted to release the people still in detention today.

The spokesperson of the Ministry of Defence, Brig Flavia Byekwaso, confirmed that the security agencies agreed that the list be shared with the police.

“The Chief of Defence forces (CDF) gave the list of those people to the Inspector General of Police to be officially released on Monday,” Brig Byekwaso said at the weekend.

More than 100 people were abducted by security personnel driving Toyota vans, commonly known as, drones ahead of last month’s General Election.

Majority were abducted after the November 18 and 19 violent protests that left 54 people dead following the arrest of former presidential candidate Robert Kyagulanyi, aka Bobi Wine.
 
Earlier, President Museveni said at least 318 people were arrested but only 55 were still in detention.

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But Bobi Wine said those arrested are more than 55. Bobi Wine released names of more than 250 people whom he said are still in unlawful custody. He shared the list with UN High Commissioner for Human Rights.

International and local pressure has been mounting about the human rights abuses by security agencies that have been arresting people in Uganda.

The United States of America and the European Union have threatened to put sanctions on Ugandan officials over human rights abuses.

Last week, several senior officers, who declined to be named for fear of reprimand, yesterday said police neither participated in the arrests in different parts of the country nor do they know who is under detention or where they are held.

In a meeting last week, the military agencies agreed that police should be in the lead role in management and investigation of the arrested people.

Recently, President Museveni said the reported missing people were arrested by military intelligence operatives and the army commando unit on allegations that they participated in terror-related incidents to disrupt the recent elections. He ordered security agencies to make their names public so that reports of  “disappearance” cease.

In a related development, the Director of Public Prosecutions has sanctioned charges of misprision of treason against eight people, including army personnel.

The spokesperson of the Directorate of Criminal Investigations, Mr Charles Twiine, confirmed the arrest of eight people on charges of concealment of treason, which attracts imprisonment for life on conviction.

According to a police report, the eight people are said to have received information to attack police stations in the country with the purpose of robbing guns that they would later use to topple the government during the General Election this year.

The suspects are expected to be produced in the General Court Martial in Makindye today.
Since 1996, at least a dozen people are arrested and charged with treason or terrorism charges after the general election.

Investigations
Police officers at different divisions have been registering complaints of abduction and then use the CCTV footage to establish the vehicles that were used in the crime.
Most of the vehicles were tracked moving to-and-from Kasenyi in Entebbe, Wakiso District. Kasenyi has an army training base.

Security sources said since the investigations, verbal orders have been given from their police commanders to stop tracking by CCTV cameras, the vehicles used by the security personnel who arrested the missing people.

The officers were also ordered not to register kidnap complaints from relatives of the victims at the different police stations, the sources said, but police spokesperson Fred Enanga denied the allegations.

Similar case
Security involved

Last year, Former national boxing captain Isaac Ssenyange, alias Mando Zebra, was gunned down at his home at night as he allegedly fled armed security men who came to his residence in Bwaise, a Kampala suburb, on December 30.

Mr Museveni later confirmed that Ssenyange had been killed by security personnel and said he had ordered an investigation into the killing.

editorial@ug.nationmedia.com

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