They Mercilessly Poured Pepper into My Eyes: Suspected Terrorist Tells Ugandan Court

Suspects in the dock. Courtesy Photo

A suspect in a foiled terror attack has told a Ugandan magistrate that those who arrested and detained him sprayed pepper into his eyes, in yet another accusation of torture of suspects at the hands of security officers.

Three people suspected to have planned to blow up mourners at the funeral of Lt Gen Paul Lokech, the former Deputy Inspector General of Uganda Police Force (UPF), have been remanded.

Accused of plotting to plant a bomb with the intention of killing mourners in Pader, the trio appeared before Buganda Road Magistrate’s Court Grade One Magistrate Doreen Olga Karungi on November 05 where they were charged and remanded.

The three suspects are Rashid Katumba, Najimu Luyenje, and Arafat Kiyemba, and they face charges of terrorism, unlawful possession of explosives and belonging to a terrorist organisation contrary to sections of the Anti-Terrorism Act.

Prosecution told court that on August 26, 2021, Katumba, Luyenje, Kiyemba and others still at large, while at Atimikica Guest House in Pader District, unlawfully delivered and placed explosives in a public place to cause death or serious bodily injury.

Prosecution further alleged that the trio and others still at large, were in unlawful possession of materials used to make explosives. These materials included three pieces of electric detonators, ammonium nitrate, an improvised switch, a jacket, a sheet of ball bearings, soldiering wires, jerry cans, a pair of pliers and a screw.

Prosecution also told court that Katumba, Luyenje and Kiyemba were believed to be members or professed to be members of the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF), a terrorist organization that the state blames for numerous attacks.

Defence lawyer Geoffrey Turyamusiima from Wameli and Company Advocates told Magistrate Karungi that Katumba, Luyenje and Kiyemba had been tortured by security agencies who left torture marks on their bodies. Katumba even claimed that while in detention, pepper had been poured into his eyes and that he had been chained. He also alleged that security officers had taken him to several places he couldn’t identify.

The magistrate remanded the suspects to Kitalya Prison until November 19 when they will brought to court for mention of their case.

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