Full Story: NUP ‘Abductees’ Fed on Rotten Food, Severely Beaten During Detention

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Several victims of recent arrests in parts of Masaka have said that they were fed on rotten food during detention, on top of beatings, some of which resulted in physical injuries.

The political contest ahead of the January 2021 general election was preceded with reports of covert security operations in which scores of people from different parts of the country went missing after they were reportedly abducted by armed groups driving in numberless vehicles.  

President Yoweri Museveni recently said that a number of people who had been reported as detained were conducted by military commandos who were going after elements that were allegedly planning anarchy. A number of them who have since returned home, describe their detention as a nightmare crafted in both physical and emotional torture.

Steven Mwanje, a resident of Nabuti cell in Mukono Municipality says he was detained for two weeks, before being dumped in the shrubs of Kyesiiga Sub-county in Masaka district on Saturday. In an interview with Uganda Radio Network, Mwanje noted that he was arrested alongside two colleagues, by armed men who said they were looking for direction to the home of one of the local leaders in Mukono Municipality.

He says their captors bundled them in a waiting van, inside which they were allegedly injected with unknown fluids before they were dropped inside a filthy detention facility in an unknown place where they met several detainees. 

Besides the physical beatings that left him with visible scars on his body, Mwanje adds that one of his worst experiences was being forced to eat rotting food. He alleges that insides the different detentions facilities he has been to before he was dumped, he interfaced with several other people who he says were also arrested and tortured in a similar manner. 

Shafik Kalungi, 19, another victim of the alleged abduction narrates that they were blindfolded at night, driven for longer hours to unknown destinations before they were eventually dumped in thickets; a place they later learnt was in Masaka district.

Innocent Kateregga, one of the local coordinators of the National Unity Platform-NUP in greater Masaka region, says that the victims are part of the long list of opposition activists that went missing after they were abducted by security operatives. He indicates that despite the reappearance of some of their colleagues, many opposition activists are still fearing for their lives to the extent of some fleeing their homes for safety. 

Meanwhile, Mathias Mpuuga Nsamba, the Masaka Municipality MP and NUP Deputy President in charge of Central region say they are working on modalities of transporting the victims back to their homes and well as providing them with psychosocial support. 

Muhammad Nsubuga, the greater Masaka Regional Police Spokesperson noted that they are yet to register any related incidents, calling upon the victims to reach out to police and open up a file with police, such that investigations are conducted.