UGANDA, Kampala | Real Muloodi News | Unknown armed men who arrived in a numberless car dressed in ordinary clothing abducted Charles Ssebitene, a 70-year-old man, and his family members, from his house in Badana-Masanafu Rubaga Division and detained them for unclear reasons.
According to his neighbours and tenants, Ssebitene’s family has been engaged in property disputes with another family. The squabbles had escalated to the point that the tenants hadn’t paid rent to either of the fighting family members since December 2021.
The incident turned out to be an arrest and not an abduction when the police stated that they were the ones who arrested Mr Ssebitene and detained his family for investigations. However, the police did not reveal the reasons for detaining the family.
The residents of Masanafu were alarmed to learn that the armed men in plain clothing who arrived at Mr Ssebitene’s house in a drone car with no licence plate were police officers.
The Events of the Arrest
Mr Sepiriya Kabuuka, the chairperson of Masanafu Kinonya Zone in Lubya Parish, Rubaga Division in Kampala City, said a numberless vehicle, also known as Drone, parked near Mr Ssebitene’s house before armed men exited the vehicle and encircled the home.
“They picked the old man and seven others before driving away. They didn’t inform anyone including the area police or local council and neighbours. They also picked a six-year-old child who is on medication. They left the child’s drugs at home,” Mr Kabuuka said.
“They also went with a three-year-old child and two other children who had paid a visit to the home,” he added.
Mr Kabuuka stated that all attempts to determine who abducted their neighbours were unsuccessful.
“How can they just come with guns without any uniform and arrest people? How can we know whether they are criminals or genuine officers?” he added.
A tenant in Mr Ssebitene’s building said a tinted saloon car was the first to arrive in the neighbourhood. The occupants remained inside the vehicle for a very long time.
Then a motorcycle mounted by two people came and parked.
A numberless car [drone] later arrived at the residence.
“We were suspicious of the vehicles, but didn’t report to the authorities for fear that the occupants of the vehicles may be innocent,” the tenant said.
“The armed men jumped off the motorcycle and walked straight to the residence. We didn’t ask them anything since everyone was running away,” he added.
After the armed men had left, the tenants informed the LC chairman about the incident.
Mr Kabuka, the chairperson, said he reported the matter to the nearby police post.
Mr Kabuka said, “I reported the matter to all police officers in charge of our area police post. I even called the division police commander of Old Kampala Police Station, but they were not aware of the operation.”
What the Police Had to Say
According to police sources, the family members are being held by officers assigned to the Directorate of Crime Intelligence.
Patrick Onyango, a spokesperson for the Kampala Metropolitan Police, stated that no charges have been filed against the detained family members.
“It is true they are with us, but they were not kidnapped or abducted and they are not under arrest. They are just helping us with investigations. The children were brought with the adults because we didn’t want to leave them without anyone caring for them,” Mr Onyango said.
Similar arrests have occurred in Kampala’s outskirts, particularly during the November 2020 demonstrations. Dozens of those detained were never seen again.
The Inspector General of Police Martins Okoth-Ochola established rules in 2017 requiring police officers detaining or transporting somebody from one location to another to always identify themselves first.
According to IGP Ochola, the police must also notify the affected person’s next of kin of where they are being taken.
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