Uganda: We Don't Know Whereabouts of Missing People - Govt

28 January 2021

The Minister of Internal Affairs, Gen Jeje Odongo, and the Inspector General of Police, Mr Martins Okoth Ochola, have failed to explain the whereabouts of Ugandans who are missing after they were picked up by armed personnel during the General Election.

Responding to journalists' questions yesterday about the whereabouts of the people arrested and kept in unknown facilities, the duo said the inquiries were not specific on who was missing, where the incidents happened and dates.

"It would be more helpful to say that on Thursday at 2pm in Kamwokya, we saw a vehicle grabbing so and so. It becomes easier to find out. When you make a general statement, the inquiry becomes difficult," Gen Odongo said.

This was during a joint press conference about the security they provided during the General Election.

Several people have been arrested by armed men from their homes and workplaces and have never been seen again.

Journalists then presented at least 10 names of missing persons, where and when they were arrested from.

In response, Gen Odongo said: "The Director of CID is here. She is, therefore, tasked to take up this matter and we will subsequently report to the country about what has happened to these individuals."

Cases registered

Mr Ochola wondered whether the relatives of the missing persons had reported the cases to police and requested for the case reference numbers.

"Do these people have reference numbers? Give them to me," he said.

Journalists submitted the reference numbers of police reports of missing persons to security personnel.

Both Gen Odongo and Mr Ochola later admitted to receiving cases of missing persons and investigations are ongoing to establish where they are.

When asked about the number of missing cases they have registered, Gen Odongo said: "I wish we had known that earlier. We would be able to say there are 40 to 20. Certainly, we do know people have been reported missing and we are tracking that record. We do have records of people reported missing."

Mr Godfrey Zaake Kasoma and Charles Sewanonda were allegedly arrested by armed men on December 24 last year at Namulanda on Entebbe Road and Kisekka Market, respectively.

Mr Sewanonda's workmates said a tinted Toyota HiAce arrived near his shop and armed men arrested him without informing them of the offence he had allegedly committed.

Mr Sewanonda's workmate said the armed men dragged him in the car and drove off. His relatives have not accessed him since.

Mr John Ddamulira, who was arrested in November 2020 at Kisekka Market, is also missing.

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