Ugandan minister of Information, Communication Technology and National Guidance Dr Chris Baryomunsi has left Ugandans shocked after telling an investigative journalism organization that there was nothing illegal with security operatives driving suspects in ‘drone’ vehicles.
There have been reports of suspects being abducted or kidnapped before being bundled into drones. The mode of arrest has been largely associated with the Chieftaincy of Military Intelligence (CMI). Sometimes, Uganda Police Force (UPF) has denied arresting some people in drones, only it to be confirmed that CMI or other sister security agencies are the ones which had abducted or kidnapped the suspect(s).
These abductions have made it difficult for members of the general public to differentiate between security operatives and criminals who abduct to kill or force ransoms out of people’s relatives. In some cases, some suspects have accused the security operatives of torturing them during detention.
In an interview with the African Institute for Investigative Journalism (AIIJ), Minister Baryomunsi condemned the torture of suspects, saying this was unacceptable and it that it made the state lose cases. It should be remembered that Museveni has previously sent a clear warning to security agencies over use of torture to force confessions from suspects. (See Details Here).
However, Minister Baryomunsi said there was nothing wrong with suspects being bundled and driven into drone vehicles, arguing that the law was silent on the mode of transport that should be used to transport suspects.
“If anybody is suspected to have committed a crime, security agencies, particularly police, should be able to come to you, identify themselves and arrest you,” Baryomunsi, who is also the Kinkizi East MP told AIIJ reporter Daniel Lutaaya in an interview.
“Abduction is not a method that we approve of. At times the political players have just been hyping it. Being put in a drone is not illegal. There is no law which says that when you are arrested you should be put in a Benz. I have been driven in a drone, so are you saying that it was wrong to drive in a drone. So the vehicle itself is not a problem.”
The minister’s statements come days after members of former minister Hajji Abdul Nadduli’s family were ‘abducted’ at night over allegations that they had a hand in the attack on Busiika Police Station. It later emerged that CMI operatives had relied on wrong intelligence reports and the 10 Nadduli family members were released. (See Details Here and There).