The Speaker of Parliament, Rebecca Kadaga, has directed the House Committee on Human Rights to investigate allegations that government is operating safe houses in Kalangala and Kyengera.
Kadaga’s directive follows complaints from Hon Latif Ssebaggala (Ind. Kawempe North) who during the Parliament sitting on Thursday, 15 August 2019 said there were reports of Ugandans being tortured in Kalangala district.
Ssebaggala said several legislators have been approached by people who have escaped from such ungazetted facilities and are seeking Parliament’s intervention to rescue those who are still under detention.
“I was approached by those who managed to escape; they told me there are about 400 Ugandans who have been kept in ungazetted areas. They are picked up by Internal Security Organisation (ISO) and other security agencies and are taken to Rwamayuba zone in Kalangala Island,” Ssebaggala told legislators.
Ssebaggala added that there are reports that those tortured to near death are dumped in the lake.
Arua Municipality MP, Kassiano Wadri Ezati said there are reports of another safe house in Kyengera along Kampala-Masaka Road.
Kassiano Wadri said one of his constituents, Atim Jamila Asha [Sheila], a records clerk in Arua regional referral hospital, was allegedly detained in Kyengera in a situation he described as horrendous.
“These people have undergone torture; they are given one meal in four days. At the time when Atim was arrested, she was carrying a four-months pregnancy, which she miscarried,” said Kassiano Wadri.
Atim was abducted by unknown gunmen near her home in Oli Division, Arua Municipality in April this year.
This happened near Smash roundabout in River Oli Division after parking her car at Kamure Park.
Her home is opposite Kamure Park in Obolokofuku West cell, Tanganyika Ward in River Oli Division in Arua Municipality.
A social media post by Fadhil Lemeriga, the Arua district Democratic Party chairperson says “the victim was waylaid by seven men with two wielding AK 47 rifles on Adumi road and pushed into a car with tinted glass and drove off at breakneck speed towards Onduparaka trading centre up to Odramacaku border post and returned to Arua town via the same route in order to confuse the masses.”
He, in his post Lemeriga said Jamila’s whereabouts remain unknown and that the family is still following the issue.
Legislators now want government to not only investigate the legality of the said safe houses but also ensure the detainees are produced and tried in courts of law.
The Speaker tasked the Minister of Security to present a statement to Parliament about the safe houses on Wednesday, 21 August 2019.
“We need to demand from the security minister, information about safe houses both in Kyengera, Kalangala and others. He should come here and explain why they are holding Ugandans there,” Kadaga said.