Police have come out to explain circumstances under which an 80 year old man who had earlier been arrested from Kasese died in detention at the Special Investigations Division in Kireka.
Spokesperson, Fred Enanga told journalists on Tuesday that Constantine Muhonja of Buhuna village, Karambi Sub County in Kasese district died after collapsing in a bathroom at Kireka where he was being detained after arrest by operatives from Crime Intelligence Directorate.
“An inquest was conducted by a coroner who exonerated police after the death of Constantine Muhonja was established to be accidental when he slid and fell in a bathroom at Kireka detention facility,”Enanga said.
Last week, opposition MPs led by the LOP, Mathias Mpuuga put government on the spot over the death of the 80 year old NUP supporter from Kasese that they attributed to torture.
Describing it as another case of extrajudicial killing, Mpuuga explained that Muhonja was picked by security operatives from Kasese on January, 5 before being detained in Kireka from where he died .
“He was transferred to Masaka later to Sembabule and finally ended up at a detention facility at Kireka. For this entire time, they saw no reason for informing his family as to why they had arrested him and where he had been detained. After two weeks of torture, Mzee Muhonja succumbed to the injuries inflicted on him. His body was dumped at the KCCA mortuary on January 19th. Eight days later, the body was disposed of in the KCCA cemetery,”Mpuuga said.
Police spokesperson, Fred Enanga told journalists on Tuesday that following the allegations, a coroner was appointed to carry out an inquest into the death of the 80 year old man from Kasese.
A coroner is a government or judicial official who is empowered to conduct or order an inquest into the manner or cause of death, and to investigate or confirm the identity of an unknown person who has been found dead within the coroner’s jurisdiction
Enanga said investigations by the coroner cleared police of any wrongdoing.
“During coronal investigation, 12 suspects with whom the victim shared custody were interviewed and the cause of death was established as an accident that led to fatal chest injury. There was therefore no torture or ill-treatment of the suspect while in custody,” Enanga said.
The police spokesperson explained that the 80 year old was arrested after suspects earlier arrested over involvement in the attack of Busiika police station in Luweero told interrogators that Muhonja was an ADF agent in Kasese.
“When we interrogated the four suspects arrested over the attack on Busiika police station, they indicated that when being transported from Uganda to DRC, they had a conduit in Kasese whom they identified as Muhonja who always facilitated the movement of recruits from Uganda to DRC and also received ADF operatives who had completed training from DRC back to Uganda,” Enanga said.
He explained that under these circumstances, operatives from the Crime Intelligence Directorate were later led by the four suspects to Kasese where they arrested the 80 year old Muhonja.
Police however dismissed claims that the 80 year old was targeted because he was a supporter of the opposition National Unity Platform.
“He was arrested as ADF suspect and not as member of National Unity Platform. We don’t see reason why we should target members of opposition but on the contrary, we go for individuals engaged in hostilities against Ugandans. It is however unfortunate that he collapsed while in the bathroom.”