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UHCR report faults police on kidnap cases of 2018

FILE PHOTO: The Inspector General of Police J.M Okoth Ochola launching the Annual Crime report 2018 at police headquarters Naguru

Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Uganda Human Rights Commission-UHRC has faulted the Uganda Police Force over for alleged involvement in kidnaps and connivance with criminals.

In their 21st Annual report of 2018 on the state of human rights, UHRC notes that alleged corruption by some Police officers, coupled with allegations that some of them connive with kidnappers and actually participate in kidnaps affects expeditious handling of kidnap cases.

According to the report, information from the Kidnap Response Centre established that by May 2018 there were 74 reported cases of kidnaps out of which 49 were from Greater Kampala. The cases mentioned in 2018 include the kidnap and murder of Suzan Magara in, which a ransom was paid. Nice suspects have been remanded while three are still at large.

The report also says some supposed cases of Kidnaps were actually arrests conducted unprofessionally by the Police like in the case of a Chinese Lin Yu Yun.  According to the report, Police officers have themselves participated in kidnaps for instance in the case of Dr. Kenneth Amok, a dentist attached to Mulago National Referal Hospital on December 20th, 2018.  He was reportedly kidnapped by police officers who extorted from him Shillings 5 million.

UHRC says three police officers attached to Wandegeya Police station and a former operative of the chieftaincy of Military intelligence were arrested over the matter. Another case of kidnap was of a City Accountant, in which a policeman and ex-soldier were arrested and charged.

“On 18th September, 2017 the Flying Squad Unit of the Police rescued Gerald Yashaba who had been kidnapped by a superintendent of Police,” the report reads. The report also blames the failure to resolve kidnap cases on bickering between different security forces, which has affected high profile kidnap cases.

The report also faults police delayed action, noting that some of the affected families feel betrayed by the police for respond late to their complaints. The report cites a case of a one Katende, a father of a three year old Nakitende who was kidnapped in Kiteezi in Wakiso district on April 24th, 2018, but Police allegedly did nothing about it.

The officers neither visited the scene of the kidnap nor followed up on the exhibits despite the fact that the matter was reported. Among other things the report notes that lack of confidence in the judicial system, intimidation by the kidnappers stopping their victims from involving police and poor facilitation affected investigations into kidnap cases.

The UHRC report has recommends that Police should heighten it presence through foot patrols and community policing, improve on police technology and hold officers involved in unprofessional conducts accountable.

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