Minister Kutesa’s Claim on Abductions False
The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Sam Kutesa recently told the United Nations Security Council that there have been no abductions and kidnappings by security forces in Uganda from the time of the 2021 election period as various reports say.
From the statement, the Minister denied on-going allegations that security forces were kidnapping and abducting individuals.
“…anyone suspected of wrongdoing in Uganda will be arrested, investigated and subjected to due process of the law,” the statement from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs reads.
Since late last year, hundreds of Ugandans have reportedly been abducted, tortured and detained incommunicado in ungazetted places. Some have appeared before the Court Martial on different charges. Others have been dumped in swamps and forests in the middle of the night.
On March 8, in a public letter to the media, President Yoweri Museveni said that 50 people are being held by the Special Forces Command, a unit of the Ugandan army, for “treasonable acts of elements of the opposition.”
“We brought a distinguished commando unit from Somalia- which had also destroyed ADF. This commando group quickly defeated the terrorists who wanted to disturb elections. They killed some and arrested some of these terrorists,” President Museveni said
On 4th March 2021 NTV Uganda quotes Internal Affairs Minister General Jeje Odong admitting that there could still be many Ugandans alleged to have been abducted by security agents who are not on the list of 177 individuals he presented before Parliament on Thursday. The Internal Affairs minister was responding to an alternative list tabled by Masaka Municipality MP, Mathias Mpuuga on behalf of the National Unity Platform (NUP), which has 423 party supporters alleged to have been kidnapped and are currently detained or whose whereabouts are unknown
The Human Rights Watch in its investigation carried out between February 17 and March spoke with 10 relatives of people abducted, witnesses, opposition members, and civil society members, in Kampala.
Witnesses described how armed men picked up people off the streets or from their homes and took them away in unmarked vans without numbered license plates; commonly referred to in Uganda as “Drones.” Human Rights Watch spoke to victims who said that their abductors beat and detained them in “safe houses”.
Verdict: Minister Kutesa’s claim is false.