WARNING OF GRAPHIC CONTENT: The photos in this story are a frightening evidence to the brutal torture in police custody in Uganda.
Medics say they have to chop some flesh off his buttocks to fill the open wounds on the legs… but they can’t keep him anymore. He is worried of where he’s going to be detained next. Police ‘owns up’ by clearing only the outstanding Shs29M bills.
KAMPALA, Uganda: On May 6th 2017, the Uganda Police Force spokesman, Assistant Inspector General of Police (AIGP) Asan Kasingye issued a strong-worded press release, refuting claims by the evidently wounded suspects in Court the previous day that they were seriously tortured when in police custody at the infamous Nalufeenya Special Investigations Center (SIC).
The chief police mouthpiece claimed that the suspects (who had earlier appeared in the dock well and healthy), had their wounds upon arrest. “Other suspects had old healed wounds that were obviously sustained before admission into our facility,” he announced before adding that even the Uganda Human Rights Commission was contented with the way Nalufeenya suspects are treated.
“There is therefore no basis for the media claims, as the facts are unverified. The facility at Nalufeenya is gazzetted and well-regulated and conforms highly to international best practice on the detention and wellbeing of suspects,” he announced. “We would like to inform the public to ignore these baseless allegations and to reassure them that we do remain committed to ensuring that the rights of suspects and accused persons in police custody continue to be respected, observed and protected at all times.”
The police spokesman’s rebuttal above came on the heels of another where, he had religiously refuted allegations about the torture of Geoffrey Byamukama, the Kamwenge Town Council Mayor. The relatives and wife Viola Komugisha had accused police of arresting, detaining and torturing Byamukama on allegations that he was part of the racket that murdered police spokesperson AIGP Andrew Felix Kaweesi along his driver and bodyguard on March 17th 2017 near his home of Kulambiro, Kisaasi, a Kampala City suburb.
Following the above developments, anonymous messages were dropped in the Investigator Facebook and WhatsApp inboxes, urging us to follow the matter seriously. “Hi, kindly visit Nakasero Hospital room 312. There’s a very interesting story,” one of the messages read. Efforts to get the basic particulars of the ‘interesting story’ were suppressed by the nonresponsive sender thereafter.
“Hey Investigator, come on. It’s true the Kamwenge Mayor is under police custody and he was brutally tortured. That’s the reason they failed to produce him to court. Please do investigate and keep us updated,” another message read. Just like the earlier one, the sender insisted that we investigate on our own.
However, our hunt for the Mayor came to an end last night when, another message slipped in reading thus; “Well, you guys, I am a concerned attendant at Nakasero Hospital. I want to inform you that the Kamwenge Mayor is admitted here but about to be discharged, not because he’s healed but due to extremely accumulating bills. He needs your help.”
Without wasting any time, with the help of our sources at the health facility, we forged means of visiting and talking to the ailing suspect. He had just had his terrible open wounds undressed for cleaning since he’s to be discharged the next day (today Thursday 11th May 2017). “I was picked from a friendly Commissioner of Lands’ office by two gentlemen who, following resistance from my host, introduced themselves as police officers Fred Tumuhiirwe and Byenkya before they took me,” he cried.
The Investigator has established that Tumuhiirwe is indeed a police officer at the rank of Assistant Inspector of Police (ASP) and Ronnie Byenkya is a Special Police Constable, both attached to police’s most feared Special Operations Unit headed by the equally dreaded SSP Nickson Karuhanga Agasirwe. “Outside, I was dragged to a waiting police van where I found three mean looking giant figures.”
Byamukama narrates that immediately the doors closed, the beating started as they toured the city without a particular destination. “They beat me with different stiff and sharp objects all over my body. I pleaded with them to stop and they said to save myself, I had to confess that I participated in the murder of Kaweesi on Gen. Henry Tumukunde’s directives which I refused to this day.”
After what appeared to be a decade of beating, Byamukama passed out. He came to when in Nalufeenya though he doesn’t know for how long he was in comma. “I was in a critical condition and they took me to a hospital [name withheld] in Jinja.” However, management at this hospital refused him admission, saying his condition was beyond their capacity. They referred him to Mulago National Referral Hospital.
“I heard them murmuring. They were concerned that at Mulago, Human Rights activists and family would locate me. That’s how they chose to bring me here,” Byamukama narrated to our undercover pry. We were told that until the medics’ objection, Byamukama was hitherto on handcuffs and he’s still under the watchful eye of a police detective who doubles as his attendant.
Since his alleged accomplices have already been aligned before court over the Kaweesi murder, Byamukama claims that detectives are now pondering on charging him with fraud related cases. “I hear they now want to charge me with fraud,” Byamukama, who is highly uncertain of his fate cried. “I think this is the right time for God to take me. I am tired and angry. I deserve to rest eternally.”
A born of Kyabyoma Ward of Kamwenge Town Council in Kamwenge District, Byamukama says he’s not sure he will ever stand and walk on his legs again. “They also mentioned of amputating my legs. Now that they are discharging me in this condition, I am hopeless of any form of healing. Maybe heavenly miracles visit me.”
Contacted last night about Byamukama’s whereabouts, the police spokesman AIGP Asan Kasingye sounded totally ignorant of the same. “Honestly, I will have to first inquire. I don’t have the response offhand. Allow me to get back to you tomorrow.” True to Byamukama’s fear, a medic privy with his health confirmed the Mayor’s life isn’t yet out of danger.
“I heard there are directives to discharge him tomorrow yet his treatment is not even midway. If he survives amputation of his legs, surgery doctors will have to chop a good amount of flesh from his buttocks and hips to fill up the open wounds on his body limbs,” offered our medic source on strict conditions of anonymity. Watch this space…