Investigate harassment of Muslims in Uganda further


Human Rights

Omar Kalinge-Nnyago

Investigate harassment of Muslims in Uganda further

The recently released Human Rights Watch report on the torture and murder of Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) suspects entitled “Open Secret: Illegal Detention and Torture by the Joint Anti-terrorism Task Force, JATT, in Uganda” was a chilling reminder that all was not well in Uganda, especially if you are a Muslim. The anti-terror unit we are told, was formed specially to crackdown on ADF a rebel group based in Congo. This is a very dangerous approach to national security, where a section of society is specially targeted.

The vicious cycle of torture goes like this. To be seen to be working, the unit must arrest some Muslim suspects. They torture them to extract confessions. Some die in the process. Others escape death with serious injuries. Others lose limbs, other body parts and left to rot after their unceremonious release. Because they were innocent in the first place, even those who are forced to confess to escape torture cannot be charged in a court of law as there would be no evidence to sustain a prosecution. To be able leave jail, suspects are coaxed into applying for amnesty. This is in effect an admission to guilt. This becomes good statistics for JATT. The Americans and British who fund the unit pour more funds into the operation. Arresting Muslims is therefore big business. Uganda’s position as a partner in the war on terror is enhanced for every confession obtained. Consequently, the regime in Kampala extends its lease of life, despite its unprecedented corruption record, habitual electoral mal-practices and the alarming levels of nepotism in government.


These allegations must be fully investigated by an independent commission. This is not the first time that Muslims in Uganda have been targeted. Hundreds were massacred in Western Uganda and many more in West Nile in the aftermath of the fall of Idi Amin. No human rights organisation in Uganda has cared to investigate these massacres. A commission of inquiry headed by John Nagenda after the fall of Amin to investigate human rights abuses since the sixties did not find it appropriate to handle the Western Uganda and West Nile Muslim Massacres. To date, the victims of the ugly incidents which included murder, confiscation of property and displacement are still crying out for help. Something ought to be done by Uganda Human Rights Commission, other human rights organizations and the government.


Unless practical steps to address the situation are taken, the perceptions of marginalisation and harassment of Muslims in Uganda will persist. Unfortunately, the Army, through its spokesperson, and the executive, through the security minister have only invested in a disastrous public relations exercise that assumes that the population is not intelligent enough to understand that what they are doing is “smart denial of documented fact”. They must instead confront the facts, compensate torture victims, families of the those who died in the hands of JATT and thoroughly investigate the culprits who have succeeded in turning JATT in Kololo into another Naguru based Public Safety Unit or the Nakasero Headquarters of the State Research Bureau of the Idi Amin era.


The recent harassment of Muslims comes at a time when public display of religiosity has assumed alarming proportions. When the first lady wanted to stand for parliament, she evoked God. When she became a Minister of State, she evoked God. When the IGG was desperately trying to save her job, she evoked Jesus and even sang a long praise song at a press conference. The secular foundations of the country have been shaken to the core. Religion in Uganda is no longer personal. It is official business.


The danger here is that Muslims, facing constant harassment will also find it appropriate to force their belief into the public arena, get radicalized, mobilise their people using religion, basing on the undeniable evidence of torture. This would encourage more young Muslims to join rebel activity. In fact, by their own opportunistic actions, government security agencies are helping ADF and perhaps other rebel groups to recruit more easily. It is what happened when Obote II security forces miscalculated and thought they would harass suspected young men to intimidate them from rebellion. They instead found the shortest route to join Museveni’s NRA. The rest is now history.

omarkalinge@gmail.com

0752.656.352

omar d. kalinge-nnyago

UAH forumist
e-Learning Specialist
demtac consulting-codlearn
922, Old Kira Road, Bukoto
P.O. Box 1635
KAMPALA
Cell: 0752 656 352

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Comments

3 Comments so far. Leave a comment below.
  1. Justine Awori,

    The disappearance of Scovia Akera

    By Justine Awori
    Dec 28th 2008
    Independent news report

    Hello readers I would like to bring to you another story of a Young lady by the names of scovia Akera who was known in the neighbourhood and was leaving with her Mom known as Juliet Kobusingye Akera.
    Miss kobusingye was married to one captain Stephen Oola Akera of Kitgum district who was an outspoken person whose belief in the truth and strong moral principles cost him his life. . He served from previous military regimes up to when he apparently disappeared or feared dead by the current forces of the UPDF. However Miss Kobusingye lived with her husband the captain until he figured out that things were not safe in Kitgum, So he decided to move the family out of kitgum to kampala where they were living in Natete for their safety, However the Captain himself remained in Kitgum and visited his family in Natete Kampala on limited occasions until sometime around 1987 when he mysteriously never ever came back to the family again and was feared dead by the UPDF forces because of his influence in the past military regime. Miss Scovia and the mom continued living with the mother in Natete Kampala suburb but without the knowledge of the where about of her dad the Captain but her health took a turn where she became ill and spent most of he r time bed ridden.
    However she kept bugging her mom of her dads where about unfortunately, the response she got back was never a good one. At a certain point after a long period of silence, Misses Kobusingye took it upon her interest to approach the local spiritual doctors to find out what could have happened to her husband the captain. The spiritual healer advised her that her husband was murdered by the NRA forces and according to the Northern Uganda culture of the Acholi, One has to has to attend the funeral or have some decent cultural burial in order to move on with their lives peacefully. Therefore the spiritual leader advised them to travel to the north and have some last respect to Captain Akera in order for scovia to have a health life. So miss Kobushinge arranged and travelled north with scia to go and have their last respect. At the time miss Kobushinge had moved on with a new boyfriend who happened to be a white guy by the names of Mcdavis a Canadian citizen who was residing also in Uganda at the time. Mr Mcdavis accompanied them to Kitgum to witness the ritual. The travelled going through lots of NRA roadblocks until they reached within the local Community Centre, within the Local Administration Centre they were also accompanied by another friend who was in the local district and was a friend to the miss kobushinge known as Mr. Otim who knew of Captain Akeras death and burial site. And while in Kitgum the local ritual and respect were performed There, and the family decided to leave and return back to kampala. But Mr. Otim was left behind. On their way back from Kitgum, they were stopped on a roadblock manned by the NRA forces who questioned them where they have been and this were the same forces who allowed them in on their way. They were questioned why one of them didn’t comeback with the rest of the group. This caused the military to to wrongly accuse them of trading the missing Mr Otim to the rebels.
    And thus kobusingye was arrested together with her daughter scovia and beaten very badly and detained in a safe house in Gulu for more interrogation.from there that very night in the safe house in Gulu the mother was separated from the daughter for further interrogation until the next morning miss kobusingye never saw her fate again and scovia never got to see her mother again. However mr Mcdavis was left outside trying to plead for his girlfriend. But being a foreigner, all his efforts were ignored the NRA mobile unit shot dead kobusingye from the safe house in Gulu and lots of people that they had rounded up during their patrols.
    In another incident at Koch Orum (Gulu), the NRA rounded up several civilians who they picked from their gardens and farms, brought to the safe house and shot them dead.
    Also in Koch Amar market, several people were rounded up by the NRA and shot dead. One of them was called Kenyi a Southern Sudanese who had lived all his life first in Gulu town and then later in Koch Orum. Mr Mcdavis the next morning was informed of the unfortunate death of his girlfriend with an excuse that she was not being cooperative and was trying to escape. He therefore, took the libertry of requesting the forces to release scovia which they accepted. When he he tried to report the incident to the police, he was advised to go the (CMI) centre for military inteligence headquarters in kitante Kampala. When they got to kampala, to kobusingyes house, they found that the house was ransacked and everything was in a mess by unknown forces according to the neighbours and there was a leakage of information that they were searching for some important documents that was disclosed to them by miss kobushinge when they were interrogating her. Apparently she told them something regarding what she has in the house and that her daughter scovia had the secret and was advised not to mention anything regarding the property. From that point Mr Mcdavis found it helpful not to leave Scovia there and decided to return with her to his place in Ntinda where he decided that since things were not safe for scovia to be left alone in the house He went back and forth to the (CMI) headquaters to try and findout what was going on but only when he got there he was questioned where about scovia is and they wanted scovia to report to the (CMI) headquarters for some questioning. With all that information he decided that it wasn’t safe for scovia too to leave around. So ever since this incident occurred
    Scovia disappeared off the face of the world. I would like to bring this to everybody’s attention that this was a very young lady who possibly could have been somebody very vital in the country at one point but with the unstable or corrupt government we have one can never expect their life or trust that their life can be protected. As long as one is involved or have some kind of relationship across the karuma bridge he or she is considered of a different being. The western world though have turned a death ear in what is going on in Northern Uganda for a duration of 26 years that part of the country have never been stable
    In another related incident
    The killings in Bobayo, and of Kobusingye remains a mistery still and scovia’s where about also remains a mistery in the hands of the government where an inquiry needs to be made into the brutal killings such as Awach sub county in Aswa County was meant to show brutality, vengeance, and declare M7’s plans of finishing the Acholi people and their descendants and make them modern slaves.
    The brutal NRA soldier who brutally murdered their victims from the north, accused them of defiance and being rebel collaborators
    Struggling for survival, many villagers took the ultimatum jokingly. Remember I told you people were ignorant of such decrees and their implications. Many villagers including my father
    stayed behind in their village homes. Some villagers brewing local gin while others sitting around the fire place one evening.
    This killings wrote some bad history about M7 and his decree that I don’t think will ever be erased from my memory as long as I live.
    Today, we are suffering as orphans in squalid camps in Northern Uganda without him worrying in State House.
    Sincerely if Kony is going to be held responsible for the murders that took place in Northern Uganda, M7 should be held twice the number of charges against Kony.
    M7’s brutal blood thirsty men came, surrounded villagers
    In conclution, it is the negligence in part by the Uganda government to set up equal opportunity for its citizens and make sure every body is treated equally Miss scovia and her mother Kobusingye remains a question the government has to answer in one way or the other one day when they are indicted in the ICC court
    Next time I am writing about the cutting off of lips in Acholi

  2. Justine Awori,

    The disappearance of Scovia Akera
    Updated and corrected version
    Hello all Uganda at heart readers here is an updated version correcting some lines in that had a typing error. thanks for being patient and keeping up with news

    By Justine Awori
    Dec 28th 2008
    Independent news report

    Hello readers I would like to bring to you another story of a Young lady by the names of scovia Akera who was known in the neighbourhood and was leaving with her Mom known as Juliet Kobusingye Akera.
    Miss kobusingye was married to one captain Stephen Oola Akera of Kitgum district who was an outspoken person whose belief in the truth and strong moral principles cost him his life. . He served from previous military regimes up to when he apparently disappeared or feared dead by the current forces of the UPDF. However Miss Kobusingye lived with her husband the captain until he figured out that things were not safe in Kitgum, So he decided to move the family out of kitgum to kampala where they were living in Natete for their safety, However the Captain himself remained in Kitgum and visited his family in Natete Kampala on limited occasions until sometime around 1987 when he mysteriously never ever came back to the family again and was feared dead by the UPDF forces because of his influence in the past military regime. Miss Scovia and the mom continued living with the mother in Natete Kampala suburb but without the knowledge of the where about of her dad the Captain but her health took a turn where she became ill and spent most of her time bed ridden.
    However she kept bugging her mom of her dads where about unfortunately, the response she got back was never a good one. At a certain point after a long period of silence, Misses Kobusingye took it upon her interest to approach the local spiritual doctors to find out what could have happened to her daughter. The spiritual healer advised her that since her husband was murdered by the NRA forces, and didn’t get a decent burial, his spirit is what is causing her health to deteriorate and according to the Northern Uganda culture of the Acholi, One to has to attend the funeral or have some decent cultural burial in order to move on with their lives peacefully. Therefore the spiritual leader advised them to travel to the north and have some last respect to Captain Akera in order for scovia to have a health life. So miss Kobushingye arranged and travelled north with scovia to go and have their last respect. At the time miss Kobushingye had moved on with a new boyfriend who happened to be a white guy by the names of Mcdavis a Canadian citizen who was residing also in Uganda at the time. Mr Mcdavis accompanied them to Kitgum to witness the ritual. The travelled going through lots of NRA roadblocks until they reached within the local Community Centre, within the Local Administration Centre they were also accompanied by another friend who was in the local district and was a friend to the miss kobushingye known as Mr. Otim who knew of Captain Akeras death and burial site. And while in Kitgum the local ritual and respect were performed There, and the family decided to leave and return back to kampala. But Mr. Otim was left behind. On their way back from Kitgum, they were stopped on a roadblock manned by the NRA forces who questioned them where they have been and this were the same forces who allowed them in on their way. They were questioned why one of them didn’t comeback with the rest of the group. This caused the military to to wrongly accuse them of trading the missing Mr Otim to the rebels.
    And thus kobusingye was arrested together with her daughter scovia and beaten very badly and detained in a safe house in Gulu for more interrogation.from there that very night in the safe house in Gulu the mother was separated from the daughter for further interrogation until the next morning miss kobusingye never saw her fate again and scovia never got to see her mother again. However mr Mcdavis was left outside trying to plead for his girlfriend. But being a foreigner, all his efforts were ignored the NRA mobile unit shot dead kobusingye from the safe house in Gulu and lots of people that they had rounded up during their patrols.
    In another incident at Koch Orum (Gulu), the NRA rounded up several civilians who they picked from their gardens and farms, brought to the safe house and shot them dead.
    Also in Koch Amar market, several people were rounded up by the NRA and shot dead. One of them was called Kenyi a Southern Sudanese who had lived all his life first in Gulu town and then later in Koch Orum. Mr Mcdavis the next morning was informed of the unfortunate death of his girlfriend with an excuse that she was not being cooperative and was trying to escape. He therefore, took the libertry of requesting the forces to release scovia which they accepted. When he he tried to report the incident to the police, he was advised to go the (CMI) centre for military inteligence headquarters in kitante Kampala. When they got to kampala, to kobusingyes house, they found that the house was ransacked and everything was in a mess by unknown forces according to the neighbours and there was a leakage of information that they were searching for some important documents that was disclosed to them by miss kobushinge when they were interrogating her. Apparently she told them something regarding what she has in the house and that her daughter scovia had the secret and was advised not to mention anything regarding the property. From that point Mr Mcdavis found it helpful not to leave Scovia there and decided to return with her to his place in Ntinda where he decided that since things were not safe for scovia to be left alone in the house He went back and forth to the (CMI) headquaters to try and findout what was going on but only when he got there he was questioned where about scovia is and they wanted scovia to report to the (CMI) headquarters for some questioning. With all that information he decided that it wasn’t safe for scovia too to leave around. So ever since this incident occurred
    Scovia disappeared off the face of the world. I would like to bring this to everybody’s attention that this was a very young lady who possibly could have been somebody very vital in the country at one point but with the unstable or corrupt government we have one can never expect their life or trust that their life can be protected. As long as one is involved or have some kind of relationship across the karuma bridge he or she is considered of a different being. The western world though have turned a death ear in what is going on in Northern Uganda for a duration of 26 years that part of the country have never been stable
    In another related incident
    The killings in Bobayo, and of Kobusingye remains a mistery still and scovia’s where about also remains a mistery in the hands of the government where an inquiry needs to be made into the brutal killings such as Awach sub county in Aswa County was meant to show brutality, vengeance, and declare M7’s plans of finishing the Acholi people and their descendants and make them modern slaves.
    The brutal NRA soldier who brutally murdered their victims from the north, accused them of defiance and being rebel collaborators
    Struggling for survival, many villagers took the ultimatum jokingly. Remember I told you people were ignorant of such decrees and their implications. Many villagers including my father
    stayed behind in their village homes. Some villagers brewing local gin while others sitting around the fire place one evening.
    This killings wrote some bad history about M7 and his decree that I don’t think will ever be erased from my memory as long as I live.
    Today, we are suffering as orphans in squalid camps in Northern Uganda without him worrying in State House.
    Sincerely if Kony is going to be held responsible for the murders that took place in Northern Uganda, M7 should be held twice the number of charges against Kony.
    M7’s brutal blood thirsty men came, surrounded villagers
    In conclution, it is the negligence in part by the Uganda government to set up equal opportunity for its citizens and make sure every body is treated equally Miss scovia and her mother Kobusingye remains a question the government has to answer in one way or the other one day when they are indicted in the ICC court
    Next time I am writing about the cutting off of lips in Acholi

  3. peter kalule,

    Justine,what a story.

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