KAMPALA – Ahead of the planned visit by Legislators on the Parliamentary Human Rights Committee on Tuesday morning to safe houses in Kyengera and Kalangala district, the Internal Security Organisation headed by its Director Kaka Bagyenda moved swiftly to empty the safe houses of suspects kept there amidst reports of torture by security operatives.
Parliament’s Communications team informed journalists reporting from Parliament that there would be transport available to accompany the Committee to visit suspected safe houses, news that ISO got wound of and moved fast to release the suspects and dumped them in several police stations around Kampala and Wakiso districts.
The development comes at the time when relatives of several people who were allegedly being held in safe houses around the country began demanding to know why their loved ones have not yet been released from Police custody.
Their call came after reports indicated that more than 60 people were ferried from a safe house on Lwamayiba Island in Kalangala district and dropped at various police stations within and outside Kampala last weekend with Police acknowledging that the Internal Security Organisation operatives brought the suspects to them but they are still being investigated before being released.
The Committee’s visit is likely to bring an end to the fiasco between Parliament and the Minister of Security, Elly Tumwine who had earlier barred MPs from accessing safe houses despite admitting their existence, saying MPs visit would contravene the constitution.
However, when the matter was raised on the floor of Parliament, Deputy Speaker Jacob Oulanyah gave the Committee the green light to proceed with the planned visit informing the Committee that it has the prerogative, mandate and assignment to go and visit and should only raise the matter if the Committee is stopped from accessing the premises.
Last week, the Committee interfaced with relatives and suspects detained at the safe houses who narrated and showed the MPs the injuries they sustained from torture inflicted by ISO operatives.