By Kampala Post Reporter
A total of 16 police and military officers have been arrested over alleged aggravated torture of civilians for flouting the curfew and ban on public spaces.
The 10 police and six military officers are accused to have beat up residents of Lorokwo West in Elegu Town Council, Amuru district on April 2 at around 8pm. Fred Enanga, one of the Joint Security Taskforce Spokespersons says while on patrol, the security team targeted the area “due to much congestion and an uncontrolled setting of makeshift structures.”
“Using a heavy handed approach to disperse the occupants, the patrollers kicked doors open and dragged the occupants out and some fell in the muddy surfaces. Several vulnerable women and a few men were injured in the process,” Enanga said in a statement on Monday. A total of 38 victims, including 31 females and 7 males were traced, and their statements recorded. One of the male victims identified as Kuma Charles Adigoli suffered a fractured arm and is admitted at the 4th Divisional Hospital at its headquarters in Gulu, while the rest of the victims had “obvious injuries”.
“The victims were further subjected to medical examination and will continue receiving the best possible support as we fast track their matter to the courts of law,” Enanga said. He added; “After withdraw of the patrol teams, the victims went and reported their ordeal to one of the leaders, called Beatrice Auma who doubles as a landlady. She took note of their concerns and photographed them. The images went viral.”
The matter has since come to the attention of the Anti-Corruption Unit, at State House and a task team was immediately dispatched to the area. They reviewed the events surrounding “the atrocious conduct” of the officers while on duty.
The arrested police officers include; ASP Richard Balenzi, Sgt. Charles Musaasizi, Cpl. Joseph Odong, PC Moses Opado, PC Augustine Opio, PC Bosco Okello, PC Jimmy Okello, and PC Richard Ssentamu. Others are PC Byamukama G, PC Nelson Funga and PC Ronald Busingye who are being charged with Aggravated torture.
The military officers include; L/Cpl. Constantine Awany Abori, Pte Mohammed Makanga, Pte John Eboku Mark, Pte Robert Mutenge, Pte Silvestre Ayo and Pte Eria Ahimbisibwe Eria. The group also faces charges of torture before the military Court Martial.
“The leadership of both the UPDF and UPF, strongly condemns the outrageous and gross acts of misconduct by the officers, who instead of protecting the constitutional and civil rights of the victims, violated it with the excessive use of force,” he said.