Former presidential candidate and also the National Unity Platform(NUP) leader Robert Kyagulanyi Ssentamu has written to the UPDF Chief of Defense Forces (CDF) General David Muhoozi over the plight of missing party supporters.
The matter of missing NUP members has in the past couple of weeks dominated both the media and parliamentary debate. President Yoweri Museveni, in his February 13 address downplayed claims that these were abductions as variously reported in the media. He said that these had been arrested for different criminal charges and were in custody of the various security organs. He thus ordered the Minister of Internal Affairs to release the list of those suspects.
Internal Affairs Minister Abubaker Jeje Odongo however presented only 177 suspects even though NUP had published over 400 to be missing. Complaints from family members have since been coming up about their missing loved ones.
In his March 16 letter to Gen.Muhoozi, Bobi Wine notes that he is aware that most of his missing members are in the custody of the army and thus demands that they are released or produced in the courts of law for prosecution.
“The few individuals who have surfaced have confessed to having been held at Makindye, Mbuya, Kalangala, Nakasongola, Kyengera and Kasajjagirwa military facilities. Others have been held from unknown centres run by the military personnel whereas Gen Museveni in his recent address stated that some of our missing supporters are in the custody of the Special Forces Command,” Kyagulanyi said in the petition.
Besides the demand for their release, Kyagulanyi also appeals to Muhoozi to intervene for the captives whose rights have been violated through torture and unlawful detention to be served with justice and culprits be brought to book.
“We further demand that there is justice for those who have been tortured. The perpetrators must be brought to justice and the victims of torture must be compensated,” he says.
Kyagulanyi also demands that the army stops trying civilians in the General Court Martial as it has happened for a number of their supporters.
While presenting the list of 177 suspects in detentions facilities, Gen Odongo told parliament that 43 of these had been arrested for participating in riots whereas 156 were found in possession of military stores and others were apprehended while in meetings planning post-election violence.
Legislators told the minister that the list was defective.
President Museveni earlier this year said no one is missing, adding they are in the hands of security over various charges.
“Therefore, the talk of disappearance should be ignored because it can’t happen under the NRM. Even if a mistake is made it will be addressed and answered. There is nothing we do and hide. I was hearing in the papers that there is a stampede on the issue of disappearance. Every Ugandan under NRM will be accounted for,” Museveni said in his February address to the nation.
“The arrests, termed “disappearances” by some, came as a consequence of the myopic plans by the enemies of Uganda that started some years ago. Therefore, the disappearances are a consequence of the essentially, treasonable acts of elements of the opposition. It is dishonest for anybody to talk about the mistakes if any, of the Security Forces without talking about the origin of the problem: treason, using terrorism by the opposition. Criticize the Army if justified, but also criticize those taking the unconstitutional road of terrorism, intimidation, sectarianism,” he added.
The Kyagulanyi letter to Muhoozi comes just days after the NUP leader called on the public to pour on the streets in peaceful protests demanding for the release of their fellows in illegal detention.
On Monday, Bobi Wine was arrested alongside other NUP officials when they attempted to stage peaceful protests in the capital demanding for the release of what they called ” political prisoners” by the government. He was later driven to his home in Magere under very tight security.
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