Former National Unity Platform presidential candidate Bobi Wine and his party said on Tuesday that around 3,000 of his supporters had been detained or abducted by state agents since November, when protests flared over his arrest during a presidential election campaign.
Addressing press conference on Monday, The deputy inspector general of police Maj Gen Paul Lokech issued a 48-hour ultimatum to police to take to court within 48 hours all people have recently been abducted by security operatives
The order to the Crime Intelligence director, Brig Gen Chris Damulira and his Criminal Investigation Directorate boss AIGP Grace Akullo comes in the wake of an ongoing public outcry about operatives abducting people from various parts of the country.
National Unity Platform Officials told reporters in Kampala that operatives who are often clad in military or counter-terrorism police attire or sometimes even dressed casually in civilian clothes but armed have kidnapped people on the streets, shops, markets, workplaces and homes.
NUP Secretary General David Lewis Rubongoya said the party’s estimate was based on reports from relatives or friends of people who had gone missing since Nov. 18. Most of the disappearances were in central Uganda, where Wine has strong support, but people also vanished in the east and north, he said.
Rubongoya says that security men typically came to a house with rifles, in unmarked minivans with tinted windows, and told people to get in. “If you try to resist, they force you in there, beat you up and take you away.”
Police said last month that at least 110 polling agents from Wine’s party had been arrested since Jan. 13. During the election itself, 223 people were arrested for offences including assault, intimidation and voter bribery.
Wine equated the disappearances to the abductions perpetrated reign of Idi Amin.