11 October 2018

Uganda: Two Police Officers Taken By Armed Men

Kampala — Two Assistant Inspectors of Police (AIPs) working at Entebbe International Airport are still missing for more than a week after they were grabbed by armed men in civilian clothes.

Relatives of AIP Dennis Lambert Opio and AIP Charles Peter Okurut said they were picked separately on September 29.

A relative of one of the missing officers said they suspect the duo was arrested by military intelligence officers. The officers had earlier been accused by Chieftaincy of Military Intelligence operatives of trying to block arrest of a police constable at the airport who had allegedly posted "unpleasant" political comments on social media.

Both deputy police spokesperson Patrick Onyango and Entebbe airport joint security chief James Ruhweza declined to comment on the matter. The army spokesperson, Brig Richard Karemire, did not respond to our inquiry on whether the officers were in their custody.

The clash

It is alleged that a police constable attached to Counter Terrorism had earlier been abducted by armed men in a civilian car, driven to an unknown destination where he was tortured on allegations that he had posted anti-government comments of social media.

The police constable later escaped from the facility and reported a case to his superiors at Entebbe International Airport.

A relative said when police detectives contacted CMI to verify the police constable's allegations, CMI operatives were instead sent to Entebbe International Airport to arrest the constable. The two missing officers blocked the constable's arrest, saying the military operatives had not followed procedure.

The source said CMI stood their ground and the Counter Terrorism officers contacted their superiors for further guidance.

It is alleged Director of Counter Terrorism Abbas Byakagaba allowed the handover of the constable to CMI operatives.

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