KAMPALA – Police insist that a National Unity Platform – NUP party supporter, whom security forces abducted from Kasese district about a fortnight ago – dying in their custody under unclear circumstances – had strong links with a rebel group- Allied Democratic Forces – ADF.
The same police through its mouthpiece – Fred Enanga said on Tuesday that Coster Muhongya, 76 – had sustained injuries after slipping and falling in a bathroom at Kireka detention facility.
The Leader of Opposition – LoP, Mathias Mpuuga told parliament last week that Muhongya had been tortured for two weeks following his kidnap from Kasese – succumbing to injuries.
“Although Mpuuga suspected foul play, we are happy to the public that an inquest was conducted and determined the death of the 76-year-old ADF suspect, as accidental fall death, following a bathroom slip and fall at Kireka detention facility.
“The victim was arrested after the counter-terror task teams obtained information from the four ADF suspects who implicated him as an ADF collaborator, who facilitated the movement of recruits from Uganda to the DRC….,” said Enanga in a statement – adding: “The four ADF suspects who implicated him include; Moses Katende alias Mao – a 19-year-old resident of Kutano, Jinja Karoli in Kawempe; Abdulatif Balikoowa alias Mzee alias Bako alias Kyalimpa, 54, resident of Maganjo zone; Adam Woduma Guloba alias Rasta alias Frank alias Kabembe of Kazo – Angola zone; and Faisal Musana, 19 resident of Busei village in Iganga who participated in the attack on Busiika police station that killed two police officers, robbed two guns and burnt the station.”
It should however be recalled that the same police authorities had earlier – repeatedly claimed how the IGP – Okoth Ochola had phased out Kireka Special Investigations Unit – SIU – directing all officers to relocate to Kibuli as the facility was reportedly handed over to Chieftaincy of Military Intelligence – CMI. Ochola’s directive condensed the Kireka facility into an illegal detention centre – and at most a safe house – homes known for torturing suspects in Uganda.
Mpuuga said on February that Muhongya was abducted on January 5, 2023 by regime operatives driving in the infamous ‘drone’ from his garden in Katholhu, Nyakiyumbu, in Kasese district.
The legislator insisted that Muhongya was driven to a detention facility in Kampala – torturing him to death.
But Police refuted the torture allegations: “We interrogated these suspects and they indicated that when they were being transported from Uganda to Democratic Republic of Congo -DRC, a conduit in Kasese district whom they identified as Coster Muhongya,” insisted Enanga.
“So those were the grounds under which our CI teams were led by the co suspects up to Kasese and arrested Muhongya. He was arrested as an ADF suspect, not as a member of NUP. We don’t see reasons why we should target members of the opposition; we go for individuals who are engaged in hostilities against Ugandans,” he added.
He said it was unfortunate that the victim collapsed and died while in the bathroom, which is quite common especially with advanced age.
“All the rightful procedures were followed beginning with an inquest to identify the person who died the date and place, the cause and manner of death.
“During the coronial investigations, sufficient documentary evidence was gathered, 12 suspects with whom the victim shared custody were interviewed and the cause of the death was established as an accidental fall death that led to a fatal chest injury.”
According to Enanga, there was no misconduct, torture or ill treatment by the police against the victim while in custody.
“We want to warn individuals and groups especially from the opposition to stop this witch-hunt of our specialised crime suppression groups and instead focus on eliminating individuals who are allegedly involved in acts of hostility against Ugandans and in violation of the rule of law in the country,” warned Enanga.
But Mpuuga referred to Enanga as ‘a disgrace to the police force,’ for saying that the victim is linked to ADF and was not tortured but rather died after sliding in the bathroom.
“Let’s assume that he is linked to rebellion, was police custody a court that sentenced him to death! Why didn’t the police inform family about his arrest and death but chose to bury him quietly in a cemetery! Enanga and those he spins for must know that they are only a few fools probably in police uniform he can collect and spin to,” fumed Mpuuga, before adding: “Which bathroom was that! Since when did they start giving water to their victims; he’s about to tell us that it was a warm bath he wasn’t accustomed to! They’ll account for this cold blooded murder.”