Lawyer: CMI arrests of Kaweesi suspects echo Obote Panda Gari days

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The suspects being grabbed by CMI

Human rights lawyer, Nicholas Opiyo, says even though Ugandans haven’t gone into the ‘Panda Gari’ mode, they are heading into the state of anarchy.

In a 2012 attempt to clear his name, former ethics and integrity minister James Nsaba Buturo challenged any Ugandan with evidence against him in relation to human rights violations during the 1981 Obote II administration, to present it before court.

Buturo denied claims that he was the architect of the infamous Panda Gari arrests that saw many youth disappear. It was a brutal, dreadful and infamous exercise by security agents to make “Ugandans disappear”.

Lawyer Opiyo says civilised nations are governed by laws.

“They must follow the law. If you don’t follow the law, you will be ruled by the whims of individuals. In a large measure, we are heading into the state of lawlessness where paramilitary groups are reigning over us.”

The paramilitary groups echo days of Idi Amin’s State Research Bureau [SRB], infamous for extrajudicial murders of political rivals.

Opiyo cited the re-arrest of suspects in the former police spokesperson, Felix Kaweesi murder.

“Police weren’t part of the re-arrests of Kaweesi murder suspects. These arrests were made by military.”

He said they have names of the individuals and will pursue them in court.

CMI re-arrest of Kaweesi suspects

Uganda Human Rights Commission (UHRC) also condemned the manner in which Kaweesi murder suspects were re-arrested shortly after Nakawa court granted them bail.

Speaking to the media, the Acting Chairperson of the Uganda human rights commission, Meddie Mulumba, wants government to reveal the non-uniformed, gun-wielding men who made the arrests.

Besides the unlawful, ‘inhumane and degrading’ arrest,  Mulumba says that the suspects are held out of reach of their relatives, and beyond the legal 48 hours.

Calling on the government to fulfil its constitutional duty to protect citizens’ rights, the commission wants the Ministry of Internal Affairs to explain the mode of arrest and the whereabouts of the suspects.

CMI made the arrests

Police have said the four rearrested suspects are being detained at Nalufenya, a high profile detention facility in Jinja District.

Asan Kasingye, the police spokesperson, said on Monday that the suspects were transferred to Nalufenya shortly after they were handed over to police force by its sister agency, the Chieftaincy of Military Intelligence (CMI).

Ahmed Senfuka, Umaru Maganda, Ibrahim Lisa and Abdul Musa Ojegere were re-arrested shortly after Nakawa Magistrate, Noah Sajjabi, granted them bail.

Senfuka was waylaid at Spear Motors by plain clothed men armed with pistols and dragged into a waiting vehicle.

Army spokesperson, Brig Richard Karemire, said the suspects had been rearrested in a joint operation by army and police on suspicion of being members of detained Jamil Mukulu’s rebel group, the Allied Democratic Force (ADF).