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Witnesses in safe house torture chambers probe threatened -Kadaga

FILE PHOTO: Speaker of Parliament Rebecca Kadaga

Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | The speaker of Parliament Rebecca Kadaga has cautioned the government to respect the rule of law and human rights and aid parliament’s investigation into the alleged torture in safe houses.

Kadaga told parliament yesterday afternoon that a number of people who are lined up to appear before the Human Rights Committee, which is investigating the operations of Safe Houses, are being frustrated. Many are reportedly being followed around by security operatives.

She appealed to the government to prevail over security agencies which she said should adhere to the rule of law and provide security to the parliament committee carrying out investigations.

Last week, 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 being tortured.

The directive followed concerns raised by Kawempe North Member of Parliament Latif Ssebaggala and his Arua Municipality counterpart, Kassiano Ezati Wadri who narrated the horrendous torture of Ugandans in ungazetted places.

Ssebaggala cited several complaints about missing persons from different constituencies across the country explaining that he was approached by some people who managed to escape after allegedly being kidnapped by the Internal Security Organisation-ISO operatives.

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

Equally, Kassiano Wadri reported a case of kidnap and rights violation claiming that Jamila Asha Atim, a Record Clerk at Arua Regional Referral Hospital was kidnapped by men in a white vehicle on April 17, 2019, as she was heading home. He explained that Atim’s relative approached police, which wasn’t aware of 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.

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