January 21, 2021

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Senior security officers in Masaka accused of torturing opposition supporters

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NUP leaders (R-L), Masaka Municipality MP Mathias Mpuuga, Florence Namayanja, MP Bukoto East and Dr Abed Bwanika are pursuing individual culpability of security officers over torture. Courtesy photo

Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Four senior security officers in Masaka district are on the spot for allegedly torturing National Unity Platform- NUP leaders and coordinators in the area.

Enoch Abaine, the greater Masaka Regional Police Commander, David Nyesigire Katunda, the Masaka District Police Commander, Majid Owepukulu, the in-charge Masaka central police station and Francis Watooro, the in-charge of police operations in Masaka are accused of physically participating in torturing of suspects during last week’s operations to quell protests following the arrest of Robert Kyagulanyi Ssentamu, the NUP presidential candidate.

The NUP leaders led by Mathias Mpuuga Nsamba, the MP for Masaka Municipality and party’s deputy president in charge of Central region on Friday said that they will pursue the matter in courts of law.

According to Mpuuga, many of their party leaders and coordinators in the area were brutalized by security officers, even when they were not involved in the protests.

Some of the victims of torture that are still hospitalized include; Juliet Kakende Nakabuye, the Masaka city Woman MP NUP flag bearer, Stephen Ngobya and Joseph Kasirye party mobilizers among others.

Mpuuga says the four officers also broke into his home and vandalized his property before beating up all the occupants who were in their campaign planning meeting.

Florence Namayanja, the MP for Bukoto East, also NUP coordinator for greater Masaka sub-region accuses the commanders of ruthlessly handling them during and after the arrest.

She narrates that besides the beatings and physical injuries inflicted on them, they were bundled up in a tiny police cell, denied food and medication for longer hours which worsened her health condition.

Dr Abed Bwanika, the NUP parliamentary candidate for Kimanya-Kabonera division in Masaka city also accused the local security commanders of making tribal sentiments while executing their operations.

He has demanded that the Ministers of Security and Internal Affairs take action against the officers.

However, the officers accused of torture have declined to comment about the allegations labelled against them.

Muhammad Nsubuga, the greater Masaka regional police spokesperson says that he needs time to consult on the matter.

The Human Right (Enforcement) Act 2019 and the Prohibition and Prevention of Torture Act 2012 criminalize acts of torture and set out tough sentences to perpetrators as individuals.

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