Police brutality cases that shocked the nation
The worst known victim of torture in the Nalufenya police dungeons so far is the LC-III chairman of Kamwenge town council, Geoffrey Byamukama whose case shocked the country when gruesome pictures, showing deep wounds on his kneecaps surfaced. The red open wounds looked as chunks of flesh had been drilled and scooped out.
Byamukama says he was tortured before he was brought to Nalufenya. This is the position of police officers who handled his case; ACP Herbert Muhangi, the commandant of Flying Squad, and D/SSP Henry Mugumya and ACP James Kusemererwa, also give.
But in the murky narratives from Nalufenya, where it is often difficult to sift truth from falsehood as people speak under fear and duress, one Godfrey Musisi who says he was a detainee at Nalufenya at the time seeks to contradict Byamukama’s statement. Instead he says, when Byamukama was first brought in, he was walking and did not show any signs of torture. Musisi’s version is the same as that of ASP Patrick Muramira, who was involved in Byamukama’s arrest and has since also been arrested. Muramira made his revelations to MPs who visited Nalufenya to investigate the torture.
“We arrested him through phone tracking. We introduced ourselves and explained to him about the ongoing investigations about Kaweesi. We put him in a van and brought him here (Nalufenya),” said Muramira, “The Mayor was delivered here without any open wound or a scratch. He walked from the van to the counter. We can view the images on the CCTV cameras.”
Muramira and ASP Fred Tumuhirwa, and drivers Ben Odeke and Roma Habibu have been arrested and are also detained in Nalufenya over allegations of torturing Byamukama.
But Musisi insists Byamukama was tortured during interrogation at Nalufenya. He says the first time Byamukama was taken for interrogation was in the wee hours of the morning. When they brought him back, it was clear he had been beaten but he was still walking. But on the third time, they brought him carrying him; he could not walk and spent that night crying in pain. On the second night, he was already dripping pus. After he had spent three days crying in pain and afraid that Byamukama might die, the detainees banged on the door and begged for him to get attention. Even their tormentors were reportedly taken aback by Byamukama’s condition. They reportedly told the nurse that they needed to take him out because she could not handle his case. But she refused.
“I will manage him,” the nurse reportedly said, “I have managed many in worse conditions.”
But soon enough, the nurse also realised that she could not manage and they rushed him to the nearby Jinja District Hospital but the medical attendants there also feared he could die there. So police drove him to Nsambya Hospital in Kampala and lastly to Nakasero Hospital where he was hospitalized and gruesome photos of the torture surfaced.
Byamukama’s only offence, he later learnt, was that he “did not cooperate” – whatever that means.