Napak, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | The community in Komutunyuro village in Poron sub-county, Napak district have accused UPDF soldiers of arresting and torturing a suspect to death and later partly burying him without the knowledge of family members.
Paul Longole, 38, a father of five children was arrested on 7th May, alongside three other family members on suspicions of illegal possession of firearms. After torturing Longole to death, the commander and his personnel in Komutunyuro detach were relocated to different stations.
The new commander who preferred anonymity because his not authorized to speak to media told URN that he got the information from his colleagues that the suspect was tortured in order to extract information about the alleged gun.
URN also learned that the deceased was initially buried in the shallow pit and parts of his body were seen sticking out, prompting the mourners to exhume the body on Monday for proper burial.
Gabriel Lokonyen said that on Friday evening around 6:00pm, the soldiers surrounded their homes ordering everyone to get inside the house but later, they only pulled out the deceased along with three of his boys and they were taken to the Komutunyuro detach where the 38-year old was interrogated until be died.
Lokonyen says the four were tortured throughout the night and on Saturday afternoon. The chairperson LC1 was called and informed that one of the suspects had died under interrogation.
He added that as they were still doubtful, the army pick-up vehicle came carrying the dead body and the soldiers ordered everyone to disappear from the compound of the deceased so they can carry on with the burial.
Daniel Aliat, another family member said that the soldiers were arrogant when they tried asking for a postmortem report.
“We even asked them to provide us with any report concerning his death but they refused, we told them to take the body to Matany hospital for postmortem but they instead said that they can’t waste fuel for such,” he said.
Philip Sagal, the LC1 chairman of Komutunyuro village says that he received a phone call from a soldier who didn’t introduce himself instructing him to go and pick up the dead body from the detach.
Sagal says when he tried to find more details from the caller, he switched off his phone.
“The deceased has never had any criminal record in my village, he has been a hardworking man who depended on cultivation to educate his children, he has never been involved in any criminal offence, I can’t believe he can be tagged to such a crime,” the chairman said.
John Paul Kodet, the district chairperson of Napak said that it is unfortunate for the armed forces they have entrusted with protecting the community to behave unprofessionally.
He said he wants security to bring the perpetrators to book so as to teach others who might also be practicing the same criminal act of torturing.
Kodet says that there has been tension between the Teso and Karamoja community over the issues of boundaries and this prompted them to advocate for a detachment, however it’s unfortunate that soldiers have turned to killing their own people.
He appeals to the government and well-wishers to extend some hand of help to the family of the deceased.
However, Isaac Oware, the UPDF 3rd division spokesperson said they have already arrested two soldiers in connection to the alleged operational misconduct.
Oware said that a joint investigation into the matter is ongoing, adding that the UPDF does not condone torture and unlawful arrests conducted by their security forces during operations.