KAMPALA — Veteran journalist Andrew Mwenda has vowed to openly expose Internal Security Organization (ISO) Director Col. Kaka Bagyenda — accusing him of operating black sites where he subjects suspects to brutal abuses including electrocution of the genitals.
Mwenda was appearing on a popular TV show, the NBS Frontline on Thursday September 19, hosted by Charles Odogotho.
He alleged that Col. Kaka, operates two safe houses in Kyengera and a huge one in Kalangala where Mwenda claims that innocent people are being detained and subjected to brutal abuses ranging from sensory deprivation, auditory overload, rectal rehydration to waterboarding and stress positions, as well as other forms of treatment designed to humiliate and degrade.
“I know Kaka [Bagyenda] at ISO, he has safe houses in Kyengera; base one and base two. I have taken pictures of them,” he claimed adding that: “He has a huge Safe House on an island in Kalangala there.”
“They are torturing people, I have interviewed victims who have survived his terror. Am going to expose them,” he vowed, claiming that he has all sorts of evidence to expose Col. Kaka over degrading abuses.
“I have them on video, I can play the video here. He is forcing people to testify. We are going to fight Kaka openly,” he added.
Mwenda also revealed that ISO operatives on orders of Col. Kaka severely kidnap businessmen from Kikuubo after robbing them of their money and while in black sites, they are forced to record confessions linking them to working with foreign elements to disorgise peace in the country.
“We Ugandans are going to fight Kaka and his thugs, and we shall win. He can kill me, he can kill others, but the bottom line is that this country, we can’t allow state institutions only to pick businessmen from Kikuubo, steal their money, and take them to detention centres forcing them to make confessions that somehow, they were working with Kagame to overthrow Museveni,” he said.
Last month, relatives of people reportedly being held in safe houses appeared before MPs on Human Rights Committee where they gave horrifying accounts of how the victims disappeared.
Others survivors pinned ISO operatives of trying to cow them into confessing.
Others said were accused of associating with the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF), and yet others were punished for revealing classified government information.
Speaking to MPs, some claimed they were driven to safe houses blindfolded, usually with masking tape.
They were told that no one knows where they are, they could easily be killed, and so they better talk. Some were kept in dungeon-like basements for weeks, others for months.
They also told MPs that they now live with the same fear, the same hardened hearts and, in some cases, the same depression.
Mwenda said Col. Kaka and his ‘thugs’ use torture to wear people down, both physically and mentally, to extort information, confess to a crime or until they become so instilled with fear that they are no longer considered a threat to the regime.
In the last 10 years, the Uganda Human Rights Commission (UHRC) has lodged more than 7,500 torture complaints.