The army on Sunday claimed it had handed over to police the list of people who are said to be under detention of security forces for more than one month, following a public uproar.
This came one week after President Museveni ordered security agencies to release people in their possession.
The rumour mill yesterday also sounded that many other people in Kampala or surrounding areas had been picked up in a similar manner and their whereabouts unknown – just like those before them. We had not independently verified this by press time.
Surprisingly, the police yesterday cancelled a press conference in which many had hopped they would use to produce the alleged list, if not the people under detention, raising more queries on the claims by the army.
Worse still, it indicates that members of the armed forces are either reading from different scripts or no one wants to own up a mess created by the other.
In yesterday’s edition, we reported that some police officers had said the Force neither participated in the arrests nor knew the whereabouts of the abductees yet a meeting by military officers had earlier resolved that police would lead in investigating the cases and managing those in detention. It could be the reason for yesterday’s cancelled press conference on the matter.
The friends and relatives of abductees have been candid on the matter. They want to know the whereabouts of their loved ones and their health status.
Secondly, since their abduction, none of the alleged suspects has had access to legal assistance, medical care, and family care. Notably, the State has not produced the abductees before any court of law to be charged for their alleged offences.
In this day and era, we want to reiterate that people should not be held incommunicado and detained without trial. We also think that it should not take the public uproar for the state to speak out on the whereabouts of missing people. Close relatives must at all times be able to know where their loved ones are.
Also, we ask that security agencies should come clean on this. Where are the abductees, in what state are they? If the list was handed over to police as was reported, did the army also hand over the people? When will the list be made public or the abductees be released?
We should not allow such impunity to sink the rule of law so low.