14 December 2018

Uganda: Family Demands Army to Release Ex-ADF Abductee

Kampala — The family of a former abductee of the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) is demanding the army to release him unconditionally or arraign him before court after they failed to trace his detention centre.

The family says Mr Henry Muhindo, 34, was picked from his home in Kyabolokya Cell, Mpondwe-Lhubiriha Town Council in Kasese District, on November 15 by people donning army uniform accompanied by police officers.

"Our son was picked from his home at 2am on November 15 by a joint force of the police and CMI (Chieftaincy of Military Intelligence) but after his arrest, whose motive was not explained to his wife, we went to Bwera Police Station where we were told that he had been taken to CMI headquarters in Kampala," Mr John Sanza, Mr Muhindo's uncle, told Daily Monitor yesterday.

Mr Sanza said efforts to access his nephew have been futile because the officers at the CMI headquarters in Mbuya have neither confirmed nor denied holding him.

The family has now engaged lawyers to start the process of applying for a habeas corpus Order.

"The lawyers are ready to file an application in court to have Mr Muhindo produced dead or alive because no one knows what his exact detention place is and the condition in which he is. We hope that he has not been tortured as it has always been claimed by other people arrested by the army," Mr Sanza said.

He said Mr Muhindo's wife and their two children are stranded because despite being a student, he has been the bread winner for his family.

Yesterday, Kasese Woman MPWinfred Kiiza joined the family in demanding the whereabouts and status of Mr Muhindo.

Ms Kiiza said the style in which the victim was picked from home has left the community in fear for his life since none of the close family members has been granted access to the detention centre.

"It is unfortunate that government, which is supposed to fight kidnappers, has itself turned into a kidnapper of people before holding them in unknown places. That boy was kidnapped from home deep in the night and these people took the wife's phone to ensure she does not quickly communicate," she said.

"We demand that if he is still alive, the army should allow the family and lawyers access him. If he committed any crime, let him be taken to court because his detention has gone beyond the constitutional time," Ms Kiiza said.

Army speaks out

A complaint about Mr Muhindo's disappearance and detention without trial has been lodged with the Uganda Human Rights Commission.

However, the UPDF spokesperson, Brig Richard Karemire, said he has not seen any person claiming that the army was holding Mr Muhindo, advising that an official complaint be made so that the matter is looked into. "That matter can be raised officially so that we can look into it. Otherwise, I have not seen anyone looking for the person you refer to," Brig Karemire said by telephone.

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