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Parliament moves to investigate Lwamayuba, Kyengera safe houses

FILE PHOTO: Rebecca Kadaga

Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | The Speaker of Parliament, Rebecca Kadaga has directed the Human Rights Committee of parliament to investigate claims about the presence of safe houses in Lwamayuba and Kyengera where several Ugandans are reportedly tortured.

She issued the directive after Latif Ssebaggala, the Kawempe North Member of Parliament and his Arua municipality counterpart, Kassiano Wadri narrated the horrendous torture of Ugandans in ungazetted places.

Ssebaggala brought up the issue as a matter of national importance citing several complaints about missing persons from different constituencies across the country.

He explained that he was approached by some people over the weekend who managed to escape after allegedly being kidnapped by the Internal Security Organisation-ISO operatives.

Ssebaggala claimed that after picking the suspect, ISO takes them to Katabi in Entebbe from where they are loaded on canoes and boats and taken to Lwamayuba on Kalangala Island for torture.

He called for immediate investigations into Lwamayuba safe house where several people are allegedly tortured to death and their bodies dumped in Lake Victoria.

Equally, the Arua Municipality MP, Kassiano Wadri reported a case of kidnap and rights violation to parliament. He claimed that Jamila Asha Atim, a record clerk at Arua Regional Referral Hospital was kidnapped by men in a white vehicle on April 17th, 2019 as she was heading home.

He explained that Atim’s relative approached police, which wasn’t aware about the incident.

“As the relatives went further to try and find out from other security agencies, it was later discovered that Atim is being detained in Kyengera safe house along Kampala-Masaka road. In this same Safe House people have undergone horrendous torture, they are given one meal in four days,” said Kassiano.

He told parliament that by the time Atim was arrested, she was carrying a four months pregnancy, which she lost through miscarriage as a result of the torture that she underwent together with her colleagues.

Kassiano said that Atim is detained in the Safe House together with a one Akram who was picked up from Nwoya district and others identified as Salima, Hagan and Nagima of Somali origin.

He said another suspect he identified as Patrick Kidega was recently moved to Kalangala.

Wadri demanded for the unconditional release of the suspects.

He said that horrendous stories continue to be told about the Kyengera Safe House, saying there is need for the intervention of parliament to stop the vice.

Kadaga directed the Human Rights Committee of parliament investigate the allegations and report back in two weeks.

She equally directed Security Minister, Gen. Elly Tumwine to present a statement to Parliament on Wednesday about the Safe Houses and why Ugandans are behind held there.

During the Prime Minister’s question time, the Prime Minister Dr. Ruhakana Rugunda told MPs that any security officer found guilty of torturing Ugandans would be subjected to the law.

This followed complaints from the Kyotera Woman MP, Robinah Ssentongo about missing people and the alleged torture.

The Uganda Human Rights Commission and other human rights agencies have in the past described torture as persistent and rampant with the vice assuming the lion’s share of abuses of 70 percent.

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