18 February 2018

Uganda: Court Orders ISO to Produce Etukuri Dead or Alive

Photo: The Observer
Charles Etukuri, left, back in office after being released.

The High court has ordered the director general of Internal Security Organisation (ISO) Fred Kaka Bagyenda to produce New Vision crime reporter, Charles Etukuri in court on Monday dead or alive.

The deputy registrar of the High court Civil Division, Alex Kauju made the directive on Friday afternoon. The order follows an application for a habeous corpus filed by the New Vision legal department backed with an affidavit sworn by Jimmy Ariko, an employee of New Vision following the kidnap of Etukuri earlier this week.

It is claimed that Etukuri was picked up by ISO operatives in connection with a story he wrote about the death of a Finish national at Pearl of Africa hotel commonly known as Aya.

In its application, New Vision claims that ISO has been holding their employee incommunicado since February 13, 2018.

Bagyenda told URN he is yet to see the order. "I have been up and down. I haven't seen that order yet, "Bagyenda said. He also declined to confirm or deny whether they are holding the journalist.

"I am not allowed to comment on that. It's a security matter," he said.

Etukuri was reportedly kidnapped by five men driving in a Toyota Double Cabin vehicle registration number UAH 038A, outside the New Vision premises in Industrial area. The men suspected to be ISO agents were reportedly dressed in military fatigue.

New Vision suspects that Etukuri's trouble stems from a series of investigative stories he worked on recently. His last story was about the death of Teräsvuori Juha, a Finnish investor at Pearl of Africa Hotel in Kampala.

The story linked some operatives attached to the ISO to Teräsvuori's death. He had traveled to Uganda with Finnish politician, Suvi Linden to allegedly to meet Col Bagyenda.

The story claimed that although security agencies claimed that deceased died after inhaling drugs, Linden told Saturday Vision that the deceased was not taking drugs.

In the same article, it was reported that Teräsvuori died a day after he was arrested in an operation led by ISO operatives led by Joel Agaba in Entebbe on Monday, February 5, 2018.

He was arrested on accusations that he had travelled into the country on a forged clearance letter by Bagyenda and later set free. He died a day later.

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