A total of 16 UPDF and Police officers have been arrested for torturing locals while enforcing the coronavirus curfew in Amuru district.
The arrest followed a directive by President Museveni in which he warned security against forcing themselves into people’s homes to enforce his directive on curfew.
According to the Police spokesperson, Fred Enanga, on April , 2, 2020, at around 8pm on a rainy evening, at Loriko West Village , Elegu town council in Amuru district, a joint patrol of UPDF and Police targeted several women and men residing in makeshift structures.
“Using a heavy handed approach to disperse the occupants, the patrollers kicked doors open and dragged the occupants out and some fell in muddy surfaces. Several vulnerable women and a few men were injured in the process,”Enanga said.
He said that after the incident, the victims reported their ordeal to one of their leaders, Beatrice Auma who also doubles as their landlord who photographed them and images went viral.
The images that went viral on social media depicted the women and men nursing several injuries all over their bodies , attracting sympathy from members of the public but also condemnation of the security forces for torturing the locals.
Consequently, the State House Anti-Corruption unit headed by Lt.Col. Edith Nakalema got to know of the matter and dispatched a team to investigate it.
According to the Police spokesperson, a total of 38 victims were traced, interviewed and they pinned the Police and army officers over the torture.
“One of the male victims identified as Charles Kuma Adigoli suffered significant injuries of a fractured arm and is admitted at the 4th Divisional Hospital at its headquarters in Gulu whereas the rest of the victims had obvious injuries,”Enanga said.
“They were further subjected to medical examination and will continue receiving the best possible support as we fast track their matter to the courts of law.”
The police publicist said that after interrogation of the victims, 16 army and police officers were consequently arrested .
He named the 10 police officers as ASP Richard Balenzi, Sgt. Musaasizi Charles, Cpl. Odong Joseph, PC Opado Moses, PC Opio Augustine, PC Okello Bosco, PC Okello Jimmy, PC Ssentamu Richard, PC Byamukama G, PC Funga Nelson and PC Busingye Ronald and are being charged with aggravated torture.
Enanga said that the army officers include officers include; L/Cpl. Awany Abori Constantine, Pte Makanga Mohammed, Pte Eboku John Mark, Pte Mutenge Robert, Pte Ayo Silvestre and Pte Ahimbisibwe Eria who will be arraigned before the General Court Martial on Tuesday, March,7.
Security condemns the acts
The police spokesperson said the leadership of both the UPDF and Police condemns the outrageous and gross acts of misconduct by their own officers.
“It is outrageous that instead of protecting the constitutional and civil rights of the victims, they violated it with the excessive use of force,”Enanga said.
He said that despite such incidents, both the Police and UPDF are made up of a majority of officers with integrity “who pride themselves in high standards of discipline and professionalism to keep the country and all Ugandans.”
Speaking on Friday, the president said he will not accept any security officer beat Ugandans but also warned them against misinterpreting his directives.