23 September 2018

Uganda: Where Are Kayihura Co-Accused?

analysis

Kampala — Nearly three months later, only scant details are available regarding the condition four senior and a dozen of junior security officers arrested alongside former police chief Gen Kale Kayihura.

Since Gen Kayihura's arrest on June 13, four of his senior confidants, including their juniors, have been picked from their homes by a joint security operations team.

The four senior army and police officers include former director of crime intelligence Col Ndawula Atwooki, deputy crime intelligence commander Lt Col Peter Rushererwe, former Flying Squad Unit commander Herbert Muhangi, and former cybercrime commander Richard Ndaboine.

Sources told Daily Monitor that Mr Ndaboine was arrested on June 10, Mr Muhangi on June 11; Col Ndawula on June 12, while Lt Col Rushererwe was apprehended in the wee hours of June 13.

The operations were jointly conducted by the Special Forces Command (SFC), Chieftaincy of Military Intelligence (CMI), Internal Security Organisation (ISO), Uganda People's Defence Forces (UPDF), and Criminal Investigations Directorate (CID).

Gen Kayihura, who had spent 73 days in military custody, was on August 24 charged with three counts of aiding and abetting kidnapping and repatriation of Rwandan exiles and refugees and Ugandan citizens to Rwanda between 2012 and 2016.

He was also accused of failing to protect war material by issuing arms to unauthorised persons, including to vigilante group -Boda Boda 2010 members led by jailed Abdallah Kitatta between 2010 and 2018.

But Gen Kayihura's co-accused have not been arraigned in court as had been anticipated.

No substantive explanation

The army and government did not give any substantive explanation on why Gen Kayihura was charged and later granted bail while his co-accused have remained in custody.

When contacted yesterday, Brig Richard Karemire, the army spokesperson, said they were still conducting investigations and declined to divulge any details of the likely charges against the accused officers.

"Investigations are still being conducted and that is all I can tell. Isn't that okay?" Brig Karemire said.

Our efforts to seek a comment from Internal Affairs minister Jeje Odongo were futile as he did not pick up nor return our repeated calls.

However, Dr Livingstone Ssewanyana, a human rights advocate, described the more than 90 days incarceration of the officers without trail as dehumanising and violation of their rights to liberty.

"They are being held outside the 48 hours rule and it is an abuse of the Constitution and violation of their rights. It would be appropriate for them to be brought to court and charged," Dr Ssewanyana said.

He advised the detainees to pursue their release or trial through competent lawyers.

Other than Mr Muhangi, SSP Ndaboine, Col Ndawula and Lt Col Rushererwe, there are other dozen of junior officers, among them Sgt Abel Kitagenda, whose fate is not known

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