Uganda: Relatives speak out on missing people

Mamos Media

Relatives of missing persons praying at NUP offices in Kamwokya, Kampala, on February 26. PHOTO/MICHAEL KAKUMIRIZI

By Derrick Wandera

Culled from Daily Monitor

Dozens of families are claiming that their members have been abducted by security agencies and are being held incommunicado while their searches for them have yielded nothing. In personal accounts below, parents and spouses tell a story of their loved ones  grabbed in their sight by armed individuals spotting military fatigues, writes Derrick Wandera

Wife, new-born injured searching for Bisaso

Maria Namatovu, wife of Ivan Bisaso

 By the time my husband was arrested on December 1, 2020, I had a new-born baby and when we started looking for him from one prison to another, I got an accident while I was with the child. 

The baby got so injured and sustained a depression on the head and needed to undergo surgery which I couldn’t afford. My husband was accused of wearing the red beret and he has never been arraigned before the court. So, there is no hope for justice.

My husband was picked from his place of work at 3pm at a fish factory. He remained with a small mobile phone handset which he used to talk to me on. Those who arrested him didn’t explain why they had him incarcerated.

[During the phone conversations, he told me that] they (abductees) came asking for him at his place and when they found him, they covered his eyes and dragged him out of the factory. Life is too hard because I don’t have what to feed my child on and the house rent has kept accumulating every day.

Mother gets stroke over son’s arrest

Asmati Namatovu, sister of Fahad Kasinga, 24

My brother was picked from his house in Butiti Village, Rakai District, at around 2am by men driving in a drone vehicle (van) and two other cars. 

Eyewitnesses said they (abductors) were army men wearing black. 

They broke the door and forced their way into the house. By the time I was called to go and see him, the whole sitting room was covered with blood which I suspect was oozing from [my brother’s] body. He was beaten into a comma and it is hard for us to tell whether he is dead or alive.

From the time he was picked, my parents have been affected health-wise because my mother suffered a stroke and up to now, she has not yet recovered.

Man plucked from pregnant wife 

Teddy Naluswata, wife of Ronald Muwonge
My husband was picked from me [while] in bed and despite my plea for them to leave him, they insisted and took him. I was heavily pregnant, but my condition did not make those army men have any mercy on my man.

I have given birth and I almost lost my baby or could have died due to high blood pressure because doctors told me that I was suffering from overthinking. I hardly have any food for my child and since it developed complications, it is hard for me to meet hospital bills.

My husband was picked at around 3 am on January 8, 2021 from Kyotera District and we have never traced him to date.

Wife of  Lusambo struggles to survive

Grace Nakanjako, wife of Frank Lusambo, 40  

 That night of December 8, 2020, in Kyotera and the surrounding areas, many people were picked by the “drone” (van) car, tortured and taken to unknown places. 

Among them was my husband. I wonder where he was taken because I have searched for him from all known police stations, but we can’t find him.

When they broke their way into the house, they demanded that I hand them his phone which I told them I didn’t have. He was on the floor at this time battling for his life after being beaten mercilessly. 

They carried and tossed him into a waiting van and that was the last time I saw him. I have a child with him and he has other children with another wife but I have since been forced to leave the house … I sleep at someone’s place who accepted to employ me as a house help after which I am paid by a meal for my child and per day. That is the only help they have given me which I am grateful for.

Octogenarian’s tears of curse

Kateregga Mulangira, 80, father of Jeserwah Kyabaggu

We helped President Museveni when he was coming into power and helped give him comfort and made sure that he became successful in his quest for the presidency.

 He has now abducted my son. [There is no evidence that the abductions were ordered by the President – Editor]. 

I have now had to take care of his children. Is this what we helped him to do to us? I ask Museveni to retrospect and release my son and all those that have been arrested. [Museveni directed security agencies to release the names of all missing persons in their custody – Editor]. I am already sick and suffering from several ailments; so, I don’t want to die of the trauma I am going through because of the arrest of my son.

I don’t know what I did to the government to deserve this kind of torture to my son. I am an old man now and I hope that those in authority will  understand my pain and release my son. I have not set eyes on my son since he was arrested in December, last year, and yet he has been my biggest pillar in getting me medicine for my diseases. Where do they want me to go?

Have mercy on my husband – wife
Christine Namusoke, wife of Obed Mugume 

My husband was taken on December 12, 2021 involving two cars that were carrying army officers. 

That evening I was working in a Mobile Money booth. They took him, but when I tried to ask them why they were taking him, they pushed me and tossed me to the ground before they drove off.

I have two children and fending for them is so challenging. We are telling  those people who take our children and husbands [to know that it] is so painful. My children are suffering because of the disappearance of their father.

 I have since looked for my husband and I think I will never find him. But we are requesting the government to have mercy on us and release these people because they have no case. They are innocent.  
Wife abducted on return from market

Francis Onebe speaks about wife abducted  

I saw light in my room and I asked the askari where mama (my wife) was and he told me that she had gone to buy Irish potatoes across the road. 

When we reached the main road, I told him to go and check where she normally buys groceries from, but after three to four minutes, I saw the askari coming back with the things she had bought.

I have done everything possible that a man can do to trace his wife and my children are asking me whether their mother is alive or dead but I don’t know. The cameras in the nearby gas station show her crossing the road before a sharp light appears from her direction. 

It is at that time that she was seen last before a “drone” (van) car is seen driving off. I reported the case to the police, but what I am asking for is that if they have killed her, let them give me the body and if she is still alive they should just allow me to at least talk to her and that is all because I am being tormented so much.

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