President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni has distanced the army and other security forces from the ongoing forced disappearances of people across the country in the lead-up to and after the January polls.
The President says that the security forces including the army and police are taught not to violate people’s rights. He dismissed claims that the forces have a hand in the ongoing kidnaps and disappearance of people.
There is growing fear in the population as armed men who don’t identify themselves and driving in numberless vans; the so-called drones, abduct people with impunity.
Museveni who was addressing the nation on prevailing security issues noted that the disappearance of Ugandans cannot happen under the National Resistance Movement (NRM) government and if any mistake is made it will be addressed and answered. He further pledged that under NRM every Ugandan will be accounted for.
Since the year began, there have been rising concerns from the public over people being kidnapped by ununiformed armed people who force the abductees into the dreaded ‘drone’ vans and driven away to unknown places.
Some of the victims who have been released from abduction and live to tell the tale narrate ordeals of torture inflicted on them by the kidnapers with many claiming that they were questioned about matters relating to the National Unity Platform (NUP).
NUP is a political party whose presidential candidate Robert Sentamu Kyagulanyi emerged as first runner up in the January 14 elections and has petitioned the Suprem Court to nullify Museveni’s re-election which he says was fraudulent.
Kyagulanyi estimates that about 3,000 party members have been abducted across the country a figure which was disputed by the Internal Affairs minister, Gen. Jeje Odongo who noted that police were only aware of 31 missing persons whose whereabouts they are yet to establish.
Now, the president agrees that the security operatives have picked up scores of ‘terrorists and lawbreakers’ from different places including Kampala, Wakiso, Mpigi, Mukono, Nakasongola, and Kyotera during several operations.
The president blamed the said criminals for trying to intimidate NRM supporters and destroying their property. According to figures read by the president, 242 people were arrested by the Chieftaincy of Military Intelligence–CMI while 76 were arrested by a unit of commandos which was brought from Somalia to man security in different violence-prone areas during the elections.
Out of the 76 arrested by commandos, Museveni says 17 have been released and 59 are still held helping the security to trace their accomplices.
To answer the talk about disappearances, Museveni has directed that the list of the suspected criminals who have been arrested be availed to the public.