KAMPALA, 15 April 2021 – Over 1,000 people considered “disappeared” in the run-up to last January’s elections were actually detained by Ugandan security forces.
Uganda’s internal affairs minister has told parliament in the capital, Kampala, that the people are still in detention.
It is not clear why those detained were arrested and where they are currently detained.
The minister did not say how many people remain in detention, although rights groups estimate that those detained may run in the thousands.
The opposition National Unity Platform (NUP) party has said more than 400 of its supporters and members “disappeared” after being seized in raids by Ugandan armed and security forces.
Some of those arrested and detained secretly were released under pressure from rights groups and media reporting, but the people released reportedly leave hundreds or – by some accounts – thousands still in detention.
In one case, security forces released a group of 18 young men in the dead of night after the BBC aired a report accusing troops of “disappearing” the young men.
They were released near their village of Kyotera in the outskirts of Kampala, where they had been seized and taken into detention.
Victims of these illegal arrests and prolonged detention without charge say they were tortured in detention.
The United Nations Human Rights Commission called on Ugandan authorities on Monday to end the practice of seizing, detaining, and using the judiciary to suppress the political rights of dissidents.