The Police have arrested two of their colleagues and a member of a village defence unit who reportedly beat up a pregnant woman they accused of flouting orders against crowding in bars and public spaces.
The arrest followed a directive by President Museveni today (Saturday) after he received reports of the alleged beating and torture of Ms Mercy Nakate.
Nakate, 23, a resident of Busega, Kibumbiro Village, Busega in Rubaga, Kampala, was reportedly beaten on March 27th by a group of policemen and village defence unit officials who were conducting a patrol.
According to Nakate, who is seven-months pregnant, on a fateful night she had moved out of her house to buy a herb (emumbwa) when rain forced her to seek shelter at a common makeshift socialisation facility used by residents.
“It was then that the policemen who were on patrol found us and immediately began beating us. The other people ran away but given my condition, I could not run. They descended on me, hitting and kicking me despite my cries for mercy,” she told our reporter.
Her colleagues later came and helped her get back home. The following day, she went to report the case to the nearby police station, but the officer in charge instead convinced her to drop the matter in exchange for medical support.
However, the President got to learn of the incident and yesterday directed Lt Col Edith Nakalema, the head of the State House Anti-Corruption Unit to investigate the matter.
Subsequently, detectives led by SP Jackson Tweheyo were dispatched to Kibumbiro Village, causing the arrest of Constables Francis Mpande and Noah Massajjage, who were in charge of the patrol exercise. Also arrested is Asiimwe Junior, a member of a village defence unit.
Police Spokesperson Fred Enanga confirmed the arrests, saying the suspects are detained at Nateete Police Station as they wait to be charged.
A one Edirisa Kitooke, a Parish Intelligence Security Officer (PISO), and another only identified as Ndawula, who were reportedly part of this operation are said to be on the run.
On the directive of President Museveni, Ms Nakate has been taken for further medical examination and care by a team led by the Director Police Health Services, Dr Moses Byaruhanga. They will attend to her until she gives birth.
When we met her at Nsambya Police Health Centre where she was undergoing examination, Ms Nakate thanked President Museveni for picking interest in her matter and supporting her.
“I am very grateful to the President for supporting me. I am actually thinking if my baby is a boy when I produce, I will name him Yoweri,” she said.
Addressing the country yesterday (Friday) on the COVID-19 situation, President Museveni warned law enforcers, especially the local defence units, against assaulting and beating people they found out during curfew hours.
He urged the public to report erring security officials and law enforcers to Lt Col Nakalema, on the toll-free number: 0800202500 and 0778202500 for WhatsApp.
Today is the country’s fifth day under lockdown and curfew, measures President Museveni announced in a bid to check the spread of the COVID-19 disease, which has become a global pandemic. Uganda has 48 confirmed cases so far with no death.