KAMPALA – Police have said the gruesome photo of a tortured male, identified as Ronald Segawa, that showed him with random body injuries including an open fractured wound on the hand, have been doctored.
Police spokesman Fred Enanga said the photos that have since gone viral, with the claim that the victim was tortured by security agencies, is fake news and a negative propaganda tactic, by opposition groups and its sponsored network of bloggers.
“Our task teams investigating the alleged torture, have meticulously verified that the image of a fractured hand attributed to Ronald Segawa, were of an accident victim identified as Nelima Sandra of Mooni ward, Industrial Division, Mbale City, who fell of a rock on the 27/01/2021, and sustained fractures on both arms and leg,” Mr Enanga said in a statement.
He added that the images were smuggled from Mbale Regional Referral Hospital, when the victim was undergoing treatment and photo shopped to incite negative perceptions against security agencies.
“It is unfortunate that some media houses fell victim to the calculated and malicious propaganda by NUP including its Party President, who affirmed that the fractured hand belonged to their supporter Ronald Segawa, which is totally false. Apparently the hands of the alleged torture victim, Ronald Segawa are hidden in a calculated manner, in their deliberate attempt to sway public perception,” he explained.
Mr Enanga explained that the actual victim, Nelima Sandra is currently undergoing medical treatment and her medical expenses are being catered for by Elite Youth of Uganda, an NGO based in Mbale that is also fundraising for her major surgery.
“We believe sharing such images and related false narratives is deeply offensive to the victim, her family and Elite Youth Uganda, who are catering for her medical treatment in Mbale,” he said.
In a separate development, the territorial police in Kabalagala, has expanded its investigations into an attempted drive-by robbery on a bodaboda, that occurred in Kansanga, Makindye, where the suspects were allegedly intercepted and tortured by a mob, while trying to grab a bag from a female victim. Their investigations will help link or delink the alleged torture victim to the drive-by robbery, Mr Enanga said.
“We therefore, strongly condemn the circulation of the gruesome photos, even without verification. We urge members of the public to ignore such negative propaganda aimed at eroding public confidence in the Joint Security Agencies, who are serving diligently to protect and secure our country. It is a well-coordinated smear campaign to negatively portray the security agencies,” he said
“We want to add that the Joint Task Force are involved in counter-terror operations, during the aftermath of the general elections, targeting perpetrators and instigators of violence. The Joint leadership of the security agencies is reviewing the ongoing counter-terror operations, and also ordered for thorough investigations by the Directorate of CID, into all forms of torture that could have arisen during these operations. Torture is neither a policy nor a rule of engagement by the joint security agencies, and therefore, as we await outcome of the investigations by CID, we would like to assure the public that any security person fond to have involved themselves or anybody under their command in any acts of torture shall definitely be held accountable.”