Police has dismissed as fake, reports that a National Unity Platform supporter identified as Ronald Ssegawa was tortured by security agencies.
A photo of a person who has since been identified as Ssegawa has made rounds on social media with commentators saying he was abducted by security agencies and later dropped at Mulago national referral hospital with torture wounds.
However, according to Police spokesperson, Fred Enanga, the photo making rounds is of another person and not Ssegawa.
“The gruesome photo of a tortured male, identified as Ronald Segawa, that showed him with random body injuries including an open fractured wound on the hand, that has since gone viral, with the claim that the victim was tortured by security agencies, is fake news and a negative propaganda tactic, by opposition groups and its sponsored network of bloggers,”Enanga said.
In his statement, the police mouthpiece said they have since verified the photo and found out that the photo making rounds is of one Sandra Nelima ward, Industrial division in Mbale city who allegedly fell off a rock on January,27, 2021 and sustained injuries on both arms and leg.
“The images were smuggled from Mbale regional referral hospital when the victim was undergoing treatment and photo shopped to incite negative perceptions against security agencies. It is unfortunate that some media houses fell victim to the calculated and malicious propaganda by NUP including its Party President, who affirmed that the fractured hand belonged to their supporter Ronald Segawa, which is totally false.”
“Apparently the hands of the alleged torture victim, Ronald Segawa are hidden in a calculated manner, in their deliberate attempt to sway public perception.”
He noted that the person in photo, Sandra Nelima is currently undergoing medical treatment and that the medical expenses are being catered for by Elite Youth of Uganda, an NGO based in Mbale that is also fundraising for her major surgery.
“We believe sharing such images and related false narratives are deeply offensive to the victim, her family and Elite Youth Uganda, who are catering for her medical treatment in Mbale.”
The development comes at a time when members of the public have expressed concern over increased cases of abductions by suspected security personnel donning plain clothes and moving in Toyota Hiace vehicles commonly referred to as “drones” arguably because of their ability to run at supersonic speeds.
The Internal Affairs Minister, Gen.Jeje Odongo last week told parliament that the whereabouts of 31 people believed to have been kidnapped using “drones” are unknown.
He however noted that investigations into the matter are ongoing to find out the truth.
Last week, 10 security operatives from the Joint Anti-Terrorism Taskforce (JATT) were arrested in an operation led by the Deputy Inspector General of Police, Maj Gen Paul Lokech to help in investigations of the recent spate of kidnaps.
The 10 and others still at large, according to security , were the masterminds of the kidnaps but it is not yet clear whether their operations had been officially sanctioned or were self-initiated for selfish interests.