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There have been no abductions by Ugandan security – Kutesa tells UN

Foreign Affairs minister Sam Kutesa. PHOTO/ FILE

Foreign Affairs minister Sam Kutesa has told the United Nations Security Council that there have been no abductions and kidnappings by Ugandan security operatives amid public outcry over disappearances of especially opposition supporters during and after the 2021 general election.

“…anyone suspected of wrongdoing in Uganda will be arrested, investigated and subjected to due process of the law,” Mr Kutesa emphasized on Tuesday as he briefed the Heads of Missions of the Permanent members of the UN Security Council, the Dean of the Diplomatic Corps and the European Union Ambassador to Uganda, according to a statement from the Ministry of Foreign affairs.

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During this meeting, Mr Kutesa shared a report with findings from investigations into the violent riots that took place in Kampala and other parts of the country.

Authorities said at least 54 people were killed in the November 2020 protest which erupted in Kampala and spread to other parts of the country following the arrest of then National Unity Platform (NUP) presidential candidate, Mr Robert Kyagulanyi alias Bobi Wine in Luuka District.

Minister Kutesa, however, said the deaths were “regrettable”.

Earlier in February, President Museveni said some of the people who were killed during the protests were terrorists who wanted to frustrate electoral process.

“We brought a distinguished commando unit from Somalia- which had also destroyed ADF. This commando group quickly defeated the terrorists who wanted to disturb elections. They killed some and arrested some of these terrorists,” President Museveni said in a televised address hours after he was announced winner of one of the most violent presidential elections Uganda has had.

Since late last year, hundreds of Ugandans have reportedly been abducted, tortured and detained incommunicado in ungazetted places. Some have appeared before the Court Martial on different charges. Others have been abandoned in swamps and forests in the middle of the night after several days of missing.

In March 2021, internal affairs Minister, Jeje Odongo tabled before the House a list of names of 177 missing Ugandans who he said are in detention following their arrest during and after the January polls. Some MPs questioned the authenticity of the list with others saying the names on it did not match what they had on their lists.

The same day, the National Unity Platform (NUP) released a list with 680 names that they said were of people who are either dead, missing, resurfaced through unclear circumstances or languishing in military custody.

NUP leaders said yesterday that at least 222 of their supporters have been released after spending more than four months in security detention.

They said they had documented up to about 158 names of supporters who have been dumped in different places while others have been granted bail by different courts.

This article first appeared on Daily Monitor on April 14, 2021.

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