Tuesday, May 9, 2017

VIDEO: #Uganda police do an about turn, admit holding 12 kids in #Kaweesi murder @aKasingye @IGPUganda @PoliceUg

Police have confirmed that they are holding 12 children of Mr Abu Rashid Mbaziira, one of the suspects charged with the murder of police spokesperson Andrew Felix Kaweesi.

Kaweesi, his driver and guard were gunned in Kampala on March 17. In the subsequent crackdown, police three days later arrested and detained Mr Mbaziira and his two wives; Ms Aisha Ampiire and Ms Fatumah Bint Salim before returning a day later to round up their children in a van.

The 12 children, among them a two-year-old baby, have been held incommunicado for 49 days today.
Police initially denied custody of the children. Ms Ampiire and Ms Salim told NTV, a sister station to this newspaper, in an exclusive interview on Sunday that when they sought information about the children at Naggalama Police Station weeks ago, officers told “us to forget about the children, go and marry other men and produce other kids”.

The children, according to neighbours, were picked up in the absence of the women who were released without charge after six days of incarceration. Hours after NTV and Daily Monitor broke the story, the police made a U-turn and announced yesterday that they have been holding the children since March, but did not say on what offence.

Mr Emilian Kayima, the Kampala Metropolitan police spokesperson, told this newspaper that the children are “in one of our facilities”, claiming they rounded them up because “their parents had been arrested and [we] could not leave them just like that”.

“The children are with us. We have instructed the officer in-charge (OC) Naggalama [Police Station] to coordinate very fast such that the children are taken back to their mothers,” Mr Kayima said by telephone.

The children, aged 2 to 20 years, were expected to be freed yesterday or latest today.
The wives were detained for six days, released without charge but returned home to a deserted home. The news will come as a relief to the mothers who earlier yesterday said they were distressed by the disappearance of their children and their whereabouts which, until later afternoon, remained unknown. On a visit to the family in Namasegele village in Nambale, Mukono District, residents and local leaders said they saw police officers, some of them armed, arrest the children more than a month ago.

“We do not know the motive of taking the children, but I saw them (police) take the children,” said Mr Emmanuel Okware, the Local Council I chairman, adding: “Police, after the arrest of the wives and their husband, came in a taxi and took the children. I am not privy to why and where they are, but police came and took the babies.”

Some residents speculated that police likely took away the children to emotionally drain the parents and force them to accept culpability. The two mothers in the Sunday interview said interrogators tortured them, stripping one, and demanded they confess that their husband participated in killing Kaweesi in order to secure their freedom. They declined.

Asked yesterday why the police remanded the children for more than a month, spokesman Kayima said many women came forward to claim them and “we could not hand them over without proper screening”.

“The children are safe and without any problems,” he said, “But we are going to screen the mothers and take them back.”


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