Lance Corporal (Rtd) Patrick Otto
Lance Corporal (Rtd) Patrick Otto
TORTURE OF MUNGUJAKISA DAVID BY UGANDA POLICE
AT PAIDHA NEBBI DISTRICT.
Mungujakisa David is a local artist/musician based in Paidha Town Nebbi District. On the 18th day of January 2010 he was arrested by the Police at Paidha Police station where he had gone to seek the assistance of Police to execute a civil warrant against one called Owonda Emilio an LCI General Secretary.
Briefly the background of this matter is that Mungujakisa David sued the said Owonda Emilio in the Chief Magistrates Court of Nebbi holden at Paidha over a land dispute vide Civil suit no. CRCO-O2-CRCO-0334 of 2008 and won the case. He was awarded costs of the case. Owonda Emilio failed to pay the said costs.
Mungujakisa the sought help of court to recover the costs from Mr. Owonda Emilio totaling to Uganda shillings 90,000/=. On the 18th day of January 2010 the Magistrates court of Paidha issued a warrant to arrest Owonda Emilio in execution for failure to pay the costs of the case.
The warrant was addressed to the OC Station Paidha Police Station to execute and on the same day Mungujakisa took the warrant to Paidha Police station to seek the help of the OC Paidha Police to arrest Owonda Emilio in execution of the warrant.
As fate would have it when Mungujakisa reached at Paidha Police Station around 11.00 am he found Owonda Emilio at the Police. Emilio Owonda sensing danger used his influence as the area Local Secretary for defence to accused Mungujakisa of being in possession of a gun. The Police instead arrested Mungujakisa on the instigation of Owonda Emilio without looking at the warrant in his hands and dumped him in the cells.
At around 6.30pm in the evening of the same day Owonda Emilio led Police to Mungujakisa’s home allegedly to look for the gun. The Police searched his house and never found any gun. They then proceeded to the house of one called Wanican Jaa and came out with a bag claiming it contains a gun. The Police never showed any one the alleged gun found in Wanicani’s house.
When the father of Mungujakisa demanded to see the alleged gun Emilio Owonda and his brother Albert Okecha descended on the old man and beat him to pulp under the watchful eyes of the Policemen.
When the two wives of Mungujakisa Espera Fuambe and Piracel Macungu joined in to protest the beating of their father in law, the Policemen brutally assaulted and indiscriminately beat Espera Fuambe and Piracel Macungu into submission. Owonda Emilio who led the Police also descended on Mungujakisa and beat him openly before the family members. smashed Mungujakisa’s face with a piece of pipe fatally injuring Mungujakisa’s left eye.
That same evening at around mid night Police removed Mungujakisa from the Police cells together with another suspect called Oryema Fred and blindfolded them claiming that they were transporting them to Nebbi Police Station but instead took them to Nyakak Bridge and began torturing them.
The other Police officers savagely beat him using gun butts on the head and the chest until he collapsed vomiting blood. Owonda Emilio told the Police to finish him off and throw his body in the river.
The Police officers undressed him and pulled his testicles and penis in abid to resurrect him in but in vain thereby severely injuring his testicles. They savagedly caned him on the back from which he sustained serious bodily injuries..
Just as they were about to finish Mungujakisa’s life a vehicle carrying timber from Zeu approached the bridge and the Policemen took off. However some passengers managed to identify Mungujakisa and shouted out his name and the Policemen got scared and backed off from finishing him.
The Police took Mungujakisa back to Paidha Police station in his unconscious state and dumped him in the Police cells where he remained incommunicado for two days. On the 20th day of January 2010 the local human rights activists reported the matter to Uganda Human Rights Commission Regional branch in Arua.
Police then fearing that the matter was known denied that Mungujakisa was in their custody. The Regional Human Rights investigation officers contacted the District Police Commander Nebbi, who ordered the Police at Paidha to transport Mungujakisa to Nebbi Police Station.
Upon arrival at Nebbi Police station Mungujakisa’s condition deteriorated and the relatives requested Police to allow them take him to Nebbi Hospital where upon he was immediately admitted.
The Police however followed him to Nebbi Hospital and chained him to the bed left him on chains for 5 days without changing the handcuffs. It was not until we raised a complaint to the Regional CID Officer that the Police relaxed the handcuffs for one day and again resumed and handcuffed him for another 4 days.
Police did not stop there after arresting and torturing the victim but went again to his home allegedly to recover bullets and looted all his valuable properties including:
All the above items were ferried several trips to unknown destination by Police using a pickup vehicle belonging to Paidha Town Council.
In the night of 31st January 2010 Policemen from Paidha Police station went to Nebbi Hospital and attempted to remove Mungujakisa from his hospital bed without notifying the Hospital administration. The patients in the male ward next to where Mungujakisa was admitted pulled his bed from the private room and wheeled him to the main ward and barricaded all points of exit and frustrated the Police from removing him.
The patients took over his security and kept watch over him day and night until the 12th day of February 2010 when the Police forced the Hospital to discharge him prematurely against his wish. The Hospital authorities abdicated their duty to the patient and failed to prevent all the abuses by the Police who were acting with unprecedented impunity.
On the 12th day of February 2010 the Police went to the Hospital and wheeled Mungujakisa to Nebbi Police Station on a bicycle. And later that day took him before The Magistrates Court of Nebbi to be remanded in Prison. Mungujakisa could not even stand up in the dock for charges to be read to him. The Magistrate before whom Mungujakisa was brought could not believe what he was seeing.
The Magistrate immediately suspended proceedings and sent for a Doctor from Nebbi Hospital to come and examine the patient from court. The Doctor examined the patient Mungujakisa in court and confirmed that indeed he was still in pain and needed further management from Hospital. The Court then ordered Mungujakisa to be taken back to his Hospital bed. The Police again shamelessly wheeled him back to his Hospital bed from court. The Hospital immediately gave a referral note to have him transferred to Arua Regional Hospital for further management.
The Patient could not be transported as Police handcuffed him to the bed and declined to remove the handcuffs. He was kept in the Hospital handcuffed and without treatment up to 18th February 2010 when we had to intervene by dragging the District CID Officer to his hospital bed to witness the torture .and brutality on our client Mungujakisa.
We knew this sequence of events was to continue if our client remained in Nebbi Hospital and in the hands of Police. We made arrangement to have him transported to Arua Regional Referral Hospital for better management. The Police however insisted that Mungujakisa can only leave Nebbi Hospital to court and nowhere else. We reluctantly agreed to arraign him before court but insisted that he be transported to Arua
On the 19th day of February 2010 Mungujakisa was escorted by Police and taken to Arua Police station and later to court. Though he was still unable to walk or stand on his own we improvised clutches for him to support himself and he appeared before the Magistrate and Charges of aggravated Robbery when read to him against him and he was remanded to Arua Central Government Prison.
We followed him up to the prison and explained his condition to the officer in charge and he was escorted to Arua Regional Hospital where he was re – admitted up to day. Preliminary medical reports show that he sustained severe soft tissue injuries on his body and severe optical injury of the left eye that may be permanently impaired. However, he is yet to be taken for a full scan to ascertain the injuries to his skull and internal organs
We reported the torture of Mungujakisa to the Police Standards Unit (PSU) and offered to produce eye witnesses to give their statements to police in vain. We provided Police with Mungujakisa clinical treatment notes and pictures of his injuries in an attempt to convince them to take action against their own errant officers but to date nothing has been done. The Police have even declined to interview Mungujakisa and take his statement despite the fact that the victim is still admitted in Arua Regional Referral Hospital a stone throw away from Arua Regional Police PSU Headquarters.
The torture of Mungujakisa is remmiscence of state brutality of past regimes in Uganda where suspects used to disappear in the hands of state operatives. The actions and omissions of the Police in this particular case is not unprecedented but just goes to confirm the long held public view there is no justice in this country.
The fact that the victim was tortured by the very own state apparatus that is by law mandated to protect citizens speaks volumes about the commitment of the state to protect the rights of suspects. There was no justification at all for Police to torture Mungujakisa in the way the did even if he was suspected to be a robber.
Mungujakisa was arrested at the Police station when he had gone to seek Police help to execute a warrant issued to him by the Magistrates Court of Paidha.The Police not only tortured him but his entire family and parents.
Worse still, Police declined to register any complaints by his wives and father against the Policemen who tortured them until we took up the matter. The Victims have given their statements to Police and that where the matter has ended. The File is gathering dust in Police records and the culprits are at large torturing more innocent victims. In the meantime the victims are nursing their wounds.
The Police inaction to take visible steps to investigate these tortures and bring the perpetrators to book has seriously dented the image of the force in the eyes of right thinking members of the Public.
We do not condone criminality nor do we seek to protect suspected criminals for the sake. However all what we want to see is transparency and professionalism. The due process of the law should be allowed to take its course and the rights of suspects must be protected as guaranteed by the laws.
We strongly condemn Police brutality on Mungujakisa and his family. We call upon the Police authorities to thoroughly investigate this black incidence that has dented public confidence in the force and particularly the people of Paidha and bring the culprits to book.
In the meantime we are doing every thing possible to see that the perpetrators of this Injustice are brought to book.
Madira Jimmy <firstname.lastname@example.org