The UPDF has admitted participating in the arrest of five people including Kelvin Katungi , a brother to former NBS TV journalist Remmy Bahati on Saturday over alleged illegal possession of military attire and a firearm.
Bahati, a Ugandan journalist based in the US on Saturday night said men moving in a drone have raided and went away with some of her family members, back home in Fort Portal, Kabarole district.
“Armed plain clothed men driving a drone with no plates have stormed my 76yr old father’s house in Fort Portal City searching for ‘guns’. They didn’t find any and abducted my brother, cousin and his friend who was visiting. Their whereabouts are unknown. Help me find them,” Bahati tweeted.
She appealed for anyone with about the whereabouts to assist.
However, the UPDF spokesperson, Brig Felix Kulayigye in a statement said the army had assisted its sister security agency police’ s Flying Squad to effect the arrest of a suspect who had been masquerading as a soldier, allegedly coning people in and around Fort Portal City.
“On a tip off, one Allan Kanyesige, the main suspect was arrested in Semuliki Lodge and bar with a lady accomplice, Peace Sudai,”Brig Kulayigye said.
He explained that on brief interrogation, Kanyesige led security to the home on Kelvin Katungi(Bahati’s brother) who they said was on their wanted list as an associate.
“He too was apprehended. Two other associates Mugisa Maaya and Asaba Abudulatif were also arrested and are currently detained at Fort Portal CPS.”
Bahati dismisses claim
However, following the release of the statement, Bahati Remmy dismissed the claims as untrue, insisting that his father had been to several police stations including Fort Portal CPS and didn’t find the missing people.
“None of these people you have paraded to be my relatives is actually related to me and I don’t know them. Please free my brother, cousin and their friend that you abducted from our home in Fort Portal City,” Bahati responded to the UPDF spokesperson.
“None of the pictures of the suspects shared by the UPDF is related to me.My brother, cousin and their friend are still missing and kept by the security operatives. I demand that they produce them dead or alive! Please!!”
However, in rebuttal, the UPDF spokesperson, Brig Kulayigye said, “I did not say they are your relatives, we have shown you those that we arrested from Fort Portal. That’s all.”
It remains to be seen how this saga will end.
The development comes on the backdrop of the return of the dreaded drones used by security agencies in arresting suspects.
Ahead, during and after last year’s presidential elections, several opposition supporters, especially from the National Unity Platform were abducted by security person moving in Toyota Hiace vans commonly known as drones .
Whereas these cases had gradually gone down, of late, several members of the public, especially from the opposition have been arrested by gun wielding security personnel travelling in drones.
Among those arrested in a similar fashion was Jakana Nadduli, the son to NRA bush war hero and former minister, Hajji Abdu Nadduli.
He would later be arraigned in court and charged with sectarianism.
Another person alleged to have been abducted by men travelling in a drone was Bashir Kasagga, an NUP supporter who is accused of doctoring tweets in regards the death of former Security Minister, Gen Elly Tumwine.
Police said Kasagga, a fitness trainer created, obtained and modified tweets and screenshots of twitter handles for the defence spokesperson, Uganda Police Force, Speaker of Parliament Anita Among and for Balaam Barugahare in regards the death of Gen Tumwine.
However, security has insisted that their operatives can use any type of cars to do their work including vans commonly referred to as drones.
Also, Ugandan security has insisted that what their operatives do is arrest and not abduction.