Forum for Democratic Change youth wing have called on police to release party members reportedly being held illegally.
Addressing press on Monday in Kampala, the youth said they were concerned that hundreds of opposition colleagues have been kidnapped by security agencies and cannot be traced as at this hour.
They claimed dozens others have been arrested by police and other security personnel and detained in safe houses or ungazzetted detention centres where relatives, friends and colleagues cannot access them.
“This trend of abduction, kidnap and mass arrests of our members was intensified after the 2016 presidential elections that we are convinced were rigged by the same security apparatus that is constantly hounding us today.”
Most of those activists kidnapped like FDC youth leader Babi Kahemba cannot be traced anywhere on Ugandan territory yet we know they have all been variously picked by uniformed and non-uniformed security agents, their statement said.
“More worrying is that all our activists kidnapped have not been allowed access to their lawyers or formally charged in courts of law. We have reliable information that some colleagues have been tortured, ostensibly to force them into submission or denounce their allegiance to opposition politics in Uganda.”
Some are reportedly being threatened with possible links to armed rebellion in Uganda.
“This is totally unacceptable. We resist this political witchhunt against the convictions and persuasions of our members. We stand with them in this hour of need.”
The youth accuse security agencies especially the police for reneging on its core mission and duty of protecting citizens of Uganda.
It may not not be shocking that our members have been kidnapped by men in police uniform and others are held in various police sites spread across Uganda. We think is absolutely criminal for police to operate exclusive sites as safe houses where they detain political prisoners and subject them to torture, cruel and inhuman tretament. We demand that police must come clean, release our members or produce them in competent courts to face charges, if any can be preferred against them. To keep them in ungazzetted sites is pure violation of their political and human rights.
“We also demand that Police must stop acting like a political party. If the force wants to engage in politics, it should register as a political party and fully operate as so. It can even choose to ally with NRM. This business of wearing a nataional uniform and operate as an NRM para-military police force must stop. This political practice by the police, if unchecked will have consequences.”
The youth further allege that police also uses Nalufenya prison in Jinja as another exclusive torture chamber for those opposed to NRM military junta.
They are reportedly beaten, deprived of sleep, given inadquate food rations and worst of all denied immediate health care.
“We understand that some of our members are detained in Nalufenya prison.”
They urged the local and international human right bodies to inspect the state of Nalufenya prisons to establish if it meets the basic standards of holding political prisoners.