STATEMENT ON THE BLANTANT ASSAULT OF A MEDICAL WORKER WHILST AUTHORITIES ENFORCED STRICT LOCKDOWN MEASURES.
(Kabale 9th July 2021) As we witness the unprecedented global lockdown around the world and in Uganda, LOSCO joins hands in solidarity with all peoples of the world and citizens of Uganda to fight the spread of Coronavirus that causes COVID-19 that has claimed so many lives. LOSCO will continue to participate in all public information campaigns against coronavirus as well as related preventive actions to ensure that we reach all Ugandans especially those that risk being left behind.
As we do this, Muhammad Byaruhanga, an orthopedist attached to Kabale Regional Referral Hospital is nursing wounds after being tortured by the escorts of Kabale Resident District Commissioner, Darius Nandinda. According to Mr. Byaruhanga, he was on his way back home from taking his Landlord for an urgent Medical attention at Kabale Regional Referral Hospital on the evening 4th July 2021, Sunday night towards 9:00pm. He said four men including the Driver occupied the RDCs Pick Up Double Cabin but the RDC himself was not there and he heard the Occupant in the Front seat commanding “FIMBO FIMBO” meaning “cane, cane” after he was intercepted along Bugongi Road near Revival Tabernacle Church.
According to Byaruhanga, on his way home, a double cabin pickup vehicle registration number UG 3314C that was being driven by a police officer he only identified as Julius emerged from the vehicle and intercepted him along Bugongi road in Lower Bugongi ward, Northern division, Kabale municipality and without asking for anything pounced on him and started beating him up causing injuries to his left ear and pain on his body.
Byaruhanga says that he later went to file a complaint at Kabale police station where an officer told him that he should go and finish those issues with the RDC (who endeavored to call him that same night), arguing that police do not handle such matters bounced him at gunpoint. However, the RDC said he was not aware of the involvement of his escorts in the assault of the medical worker, saying in any case this is a police case. Byaruhanga further said these could be dragged along the political lines since he is a Brother to Hon. Sheik Kassim Kamugisha.
Byaruhanga told LOSCO that he is not the only Health worker falling victim to brutality by the same people that there are others he did not want to drag into this case who have come to him alleging the same.
Sophie Namasoppo, the Director Kabale Regional Referral Hospital said that unless something is done, health workers will lay down their tools to protest police brutality.
Reuben Mutabazi, Kabale District Internal Security Officer promised to investigate the incident, saying he had received information and gave a call to Byaruhanga that night about the same.
He (Byaruhanga) has so far met with the DPC ASP Keneddy Ssebagala and OC CID Joel on the same issue and claims there are deliberate efforts being made to change the case and according to him, he does not know why!
As Human Rights Defenders, we condemn such acts of Brutality in the strongest terms by the security forces against the Citizens of this country and we stand firm to advocate for Justice and Equity especially in times of crisis like these. Our interdependence as members of the human race behooves us to look after and look out for each other.
We therefore recommend that:
1. The state should ensure that rights of all citizens are protected and upheld at all times.
2. The perpetrators must be held accountable for their actions.
3. The forces including the Police, Army, Private, and Secret Operatives operate within the confines of the Law and respect Human Rights bearing in mind that no one is above the Law.
4. Authorities i.e the Police do whatever is necessary to conclusively investigate the circumstances under which Byaruhanga was assaulted by Agents of the State and other related cases and hold perpetrators accountable.
5. The Office of the RDC should exercise restraint while enforcing observation of the strict COVID-19 Measures.
For More information please contact:
TAREMWA ALBERT, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR – LOSCO +256772935100 firstname.lastname@example.org