'We don't torture like that,' Army refutes Bobi Wine’s claims

The politician had accused military officers of subjecting him to horrific abuse

Kyadondo East MP Robert Kyagulanyi, alias Bobi Wine, when he appeared at the general court martial in Gulu, northern Uganda, on August 23, 2018. The Ugandan Army has denied his torture allegations. PHOTO | STRINGER | AFP  

IN SUMMARY

  • The musician posted the statement on his social media platforms on September 3

  • UPDF on Tuesday evening said police are investigating the allegations

  • A combined force of army and police violently arrested Bobi Wine and 35 others, among them four MPs and two journalists, on August 13

  • They have all been charged with treason

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Uganda People’s Defence Forces (UPDF) has responded to torture allegations made by Kyadondo East MP Robert Kyagulanyi, popularly known as Bobi Wine, after his arrest on August 13.

In a statement posted on his social media platforms on September 3, the musician and politician narrated the horrific abuse he allegedly underwent in the hands of security agencies.

BLUNT OBJECTS

Mr Kyagulanyi, who is in the US for specialised treatment, said soldiers pulled and squeezed his testicles and bludgeoned him indiscriminately with blunt objects.

“They beat me, punched me and kicked me with their boots. No part of my body was spared. They hit my eyes, mouth and nose. They hit my elbows and my knees. Those guys are heartless!” he wrote.

However, the UPDF on Tuesday evening said police were investigating the allegations and those found culpable will be punished.

“As promised earlier, we shall avail you all the details of actions we have taken against our officers when the time comes. We don’t torture people to that extent. If what Bobi Wine alleges in the statement is true, our investigations will unearth it and make no mistake, every officer will be individually held accountable,” the army spokesperson, Brig Richard Karemire, said.

A combined force of army and police violently arrested Mr Kyagulanyi and 35 others, among them four MPs and two journalists, in or near hotels in Arua town on August 13 on allegations that they stoned President Yoweri Museveni’s motorcade.

TREASON

They have all been charged with treason after the UPDF General Court Martial dropped charges of illegal possession of firearms against Mr Kyagulanyi.

Mr Museveni was in Arua to drum up support for National Resistance Movement candidate Nusura Tiperu on the last day of Arua Municipality by-election campaigns while the Opposition politicians canvassed votes for Independent candidate Kassiano Wadri, who eventually won the poll from behind bars.

In the Tuesday statement, Mr Kyagulanyi said soldiers broke into various rooms and savagely assaulted several occupants, among them a woman, to reveal his location. “Up to now, that is one experience that haunts me: that I could hear a woman cry for help, yet I was so vulnerable and helpless. I could not help her,” he stated.

YASIN KAWUMA

After fruitless searches, the lawmaker said, soldiers, who were hurling insults and profanities, broke the door of the room he hid in. One pointed a gun at him as he used his hand to shield his head from a vicious iron bar strike by another.

“The second blow came straight to my head on the side of my right eye. He hit me with this iron bar and I fell down. In no time, all these guys were on me, each one looking for the best place to hurt [me],” he wrote.

There was pandemonium and agonising wails in the corridors and outside the hotel.

Mr Yasin Kawuma, who sat inside the MP’s Tundra vehicle parked outside Pacific Hotel, had already been shot dead.

Mr Kyagulanyi said the deceased was not his chauffer on the fateful day, dovetailing with a previous account a female witness grazed by the killer bullet offered to this newspaper.

 

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