KAMPALA — It is exactly one year ago, today, Saturday, July 10, since the military intelligence operatives raided Internal Security Organization (ISO) safe houses in Kisaasi near Bahai Temple.
During the raid conducted on the domestic spy agency, the military intelligence arrested and interrogated both ISO spies and their detainees in what appeared to a resurgence of internal rebellions in security forces and government.
This website understands that the detainees who included a one Rasta Kiiza, a witness in the case of former Police AIGP Felix Kaweesi murder case, Isa Arinaitwe, a CMI fugitive and Francis Khalifa a Kenyan national who was being assisted by ISO to regain his land from top government officials would later be released after spending several months is army detentions.
Arinaitwe was reportedly reabsorbed by CMI.
By this time last year, ISO was still under former Director Col. Kaka Bagyenda who according to sources, was highly shocked the lethal force by military intelligence during the raid.
President Museveni would later replace Col. Kaka with Lt Col Charles Oluka at the helm of ISO.
And in a look at Bagyenda’s three years as head of ISO, allegations of torture, human rights abuses, arbitrary arrests and internal fights among ISO agents took precedence.
Before his appointment in 2017 to take over from Brig Ronnie Balya, Col Kaka had been a retired army officer running hotel business in Kalangala District.
When he took over intelligence in 2017, he was seen as the saviour and was credited for doing reconnaissance and gathering intelligence that helped thwart internal rebellion in the army and government.
However, his honeymoon was soon over after several human rights organizations and Parliament accused ISO of carrying out human right abuses including arbitrary arrests of people and detaining them at an island in Lake Victoria for months.
In 2019, lawyers under their umbrella body, the Uganda Law Society (ULS) accused Col. Kaka of arresting, detaining and torturing citizens and usurping the powers of other security agencies and acting outside the law.
Col. Kaka denied he had done anything wrong and one of his former closest aides said the raid was not necessary.
“The raid on ISO operation houses was not necessary,” a top aide to Col. Kaka said, condemning the arrest of innocent soldiers who were guarding the facility, —” causing unnecessary scenes and destruction of property” by military intelligence.
“It was a very sad day and a sad moment,” the aide added.
Col. Kaka Bagyenda declined to comment when this reporter asked him about the July 10th raid.
He said he was in the middle of a birthday party of his one year grandson, he named Lutaalo/Lutaaro, in memory of the traumatic July 10th raid on ISO facility.
Lutaalo / Lutaaro means war in both Luganda and Lunyankole.
However, while a lot of the discourse to this day revolves around the fact that the raid on ISO under Col. Kaka was an alleged milestone in teeming torture and arbitrary arrests, some political say, the practice itself has not fizzled away but “has actually multiplied”.
“The resurgence of torture incidents reported in both the mainstream and online media platforms throughout the lockdown coupled with the near impossible process in bringing the alleged perpetrators to account should worry any right thinking Ugandan, Edward Serucaca Jnr, an Advocacy and Networking Officer at the National Coalition of Human Rights Defenders wrote.
He added: “The discouraging end results from attempts to bring a few perpetrators to justice creates doubt as to the ability of the current response actions within the justice system to act as deterrent measures contemplated under Uganda’s legislative framework aimed at preventing torture”.
Early this week, five suspects, highly covered with gruises, wounds and burn marks were arraigned before the Chief Magistrate’s Court in Nakawa on charges of terrorism and the subsequent murder of a daughter and driver to the Minister for Works and Transport General Katumba Wamala.
Those charged before Chief Magistrate Dr Douglas Singiza are;
Muhammad Kagugube alias Musiramu alias Mugisha alias Mbavumoja a Boda Boda rider and a resident of Kikaaya Zone, Kanyanya in Kawempe Division and Kamada Walusimbi alias Mudinka also a Boda Boda rider and a resident of Nabweru Zone 2.
Others are Siriman Ayuub Kisambira alias Mukwasi Koja a peasant and a resident of Kabaganda village in Kasangati Town Council, Abdulaziz Ramathan Dunku a tailor /Car Seats Repairer a resident of Matugga and Habib Ramanthan Marjan a religious teacher.
These who appeared in court with visible injuries on their body while claiming that they had been tortured, their bodies pricked all over with needles and nails, beaten while others burnt in the back and their private parts were charged with one count of terrorism, two counts of murder and two counts of attempted murder.
Court heard that the accused persons and others still at large between the months of March 2015 and June 2021 in various places in Uganda directly involved themselves in the murder of Police personnel, Uganda People Defense Forces personnel and civilians and attacks on some police establishments.
It is alleged that this was done with intent to intimidate the public or a section of the public and for political, religious and social economic aim and indiscriminately without due regard to the safety of others or property.
It was an emotional moment as some of the accused persons kept bursting in tears in court on top of their voices stating that it was due to the pain inflicted on their bodies while in custody.
Parliament is yet to make a statement on
harrowing experiences narrated by Gen Katumba suspects at the hands of security operatives in detention facilities.