Spontaneous celebrations erupted among Kyotera residents when 18 supporters of the National Unity Platform (NUP) party who had been abducted by security agencies, were found dumped alive in various parts of the district after two months.
The reappearance of the 18 Opposition supporters yesterday brings to 61 the number of missing NUP followers who have been released from detention in unknown places.
Earlier, NUP had told Daily Monitor that they had registered 43 supporters who had been in secret detention but were secretly dumped by security personnel in various places in diverse districts after missing for more than two months.
Yesterday afternoon, relatives and friends of the returning NUP supporters gathered in Kisammula Cell in Kasaali Town Council, Kyotera District and shared their testimonies about their life in detention.
Over the past three weeks, Daily Monitor has been serialising some of the missing people and majority have since been released from detention and reunited with their families.
All those missing people published by Daily Monitor have since returned except George Kasumba who contested as a councillor in Nabigasa Sub-county.
In January, 19 people believed to be Opposition supporters were arrested in Kyotera by security personnel who took them to unknown destinations.
Mr Emmanuel Ssegirinnya, one of those who had been abducted, said they were dumped in different places where they emerged to find their families.
“We have simply been following orders from security men and they told us to board different vehicles, then ended up in the places where we later came from as our faces had been covered,” he narrated to the residents in Kyotera yesterday.
Ms Maureen Nampijja, the wife to Mahd Mukasa, one of the abductees, said they received information from friends at around 2am saying all those that had been abducted had returned.
“We rose in the night and ran to where they were only to find them on the road coming to their homes. They looked exhausted but we thank God they are alive. We cooked food for them because they had spent months without eating reasonable food,” she said.
Mr Jude Kiwanuka, another abductee, appealed to President Museveni to give financial support to Kyotera youth to help them start different businesses and shun political protests.
“We have been rioting and disturbing police because we have nothing to do. Let Mr Museveni give us Shs300m in Kyotera so that we work and look after our families,” he said.
He said the security vehicles dumped them in Jongoza and other parts of Kalisizo town with instructions to go back home.
Ms Rose Fortunate Nantongo, Kyotera District Woman MP-elect told Daily Monitor that they as lawyers have been flowing the case and they won’t stop doing so. “I’m sure having tasked the security forces in court to produce these people must have been one of the reasons why they have been released. We shall continue to make sure that our people are released so that they go back to their families,” she said.
She added that the said abductees were charged in court on March 22 and were released on bail. They are expected to return to court on April 1.
Mr Patrick Kintu Kisekulo, the Kyotera District chairperson, said they would give all the released youth some capital to start small businesses to rebuild their livelihoods and support their families.
On March 20, Mr Baker Kawooya and Mr Victor Makenya, who had been missing after arrest by the security personnel, were reunited with their families. They had spent about two months missing. The two appeared in the Daily Monitor series about the missing people two weeks ago.
Mr Makenya’s family told this newspaper yesterday that he was not willing to speak and was undergoing treatment at Nsambya Hospital. They said he had wounds resulting from arrest and detention.
“He can’t speak, we have tried to dig as much information from him but he is not yet opening up. We don’t know what the problem is but what is more important is that he is with us and receiving treatment as his health steadily improves,” said a family member spoke on condition of anonymity.
Mr Joel Ssenyonyi, the NUP spokesperson, said the list of missing supporters has been compiled in the last three weeks when the party called for countrywide demonstrations demanding their release from secret detention.
“We have been receiving some of the people who were abducted. The only challenge is that when some of them are released, they do not report back to our offices so that we take their details down and see their health conditions. But most of them are tortured and have deep wounds, some have even died after being released,” he said yesterday.
A fortnight ago, the minister of Internal Affairs Gen Jeje Odongo, tabled in Parliament a list of 177 people who were being held in different detention places.
This followed public outcry after hundreds of NUP supporters disappeared after arrest by unknown security operatives mainly travelling in numberless vehicles.
NUP leader Bobi Wine had compiled and circulated a list of 680 names of people he said were his party supporters who had been arrested by security personnel in various parts of the country.
Out of the government list tabled in Parliament, only 71 appeared on the NUP list, leaving 106 unaccounted for.
On Tuesday last week, Bobi Wine said that since he called for massive peaceful protests in the country, the number of his supporters who had been arrested and held incommunicado had increased from 423 to 512.
He said 230 had been detained in different police stations and 400 had been charged in military courts.
He also said only 27 had been released on bail while 44 resurfaced from unknown places where they had been detained and were undergoing rehabilitation and treatment in diverse places in the country.
Last week, at least four NUP supporters who were allegedly abducted by security men in January reappeared. They are Buwama Town Council chairperson-elect Abdul-Rashid Nkinga, alias Jjaja Katikanyonyi, Baker Kawooya, Emmanuel Bazira, and Muhamaddi Ssekimpi.
Abductees who have returned
Kagimu Umaru (Nansana)
Mukasa Jumah (Mukono North)
Twaha Kagimu (Mukono North)
Muhammed Nuhu (Mukono North)
Isma Ssenkubuge (Mukono North)
Male Musa (Mukono North)
Sowedi Kasibante (Mukono North)
Takuwa (Mukono North)
Jumah (Mukono North)
John Tim Kyazze (Nansana)
Faizol Kalulu (Jinja City)
Mugabi Deus (Kawempe)
Sseguya Mukasa Kenneth (Ndejje)
Denis Luwaga (Kawuku)
Musoke George Nsubuga (Kawuku)
Kalule EdwaRd (Kawuku)
Muwanguzi Moses (Kawuku)
Bukenya Moses (Address Unknown)
Bwanika David (Unknown Address)
Obulejo Miraji (West Nile)
Muma Mose (Westnile)
Mangwi Simon (West Nile)
Apiku Osman (West Nile)
Ndaula Hassan (Picked From West Nile)
Olega Ishaq (Yumbe)
Hadad Salim (Arua)
Thabu Mbeki (Unknown address)
Brenda Atim Laker
Abdul Rashid Nkinga Jajja Katikanyonyi (Mpigi)
Bazira Emmanuel (Mpigi)
Kawooya Bakera (Mpigi)
Jude Lukyamuzi Kiwanuka
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