Uganda: Amnesty International Reports over the years shows a pattern in extrajudicial killings

Well, my comments will be brief. Since the statements from Amnesty International own reports speak for themselves. I just thought briefly for myself. What if I took small snippets from Amnesty International Reports, about one topic to show the reality of how things are. This is small cuts and sentences out of these reports. This gives a small gathering of proof from one source alone. This is from the annual reports and semi-annual, as they are some years combined efforts. Still, they show something that is insightful. Especially, for the ones saying everything has turned better under President Museveni.

We can still see the issue is prevalent and should a discussed issue. As these sort of killings are directly enforced by the authorities without any jurisdiction nor warranted. This is taken out civilians without any care or concern. That is why every single one of them is important. As this could be anyone, but someone was at the wrong place, at the wrong time and got snatched away. That is the reality. This is just a snippet of all that has happen, but gives a gist. That is all.

Amnesty International periodically submitted reports of extrajudicial executions to the government for it to investigate and in July 1987 sent President Museveni an aide-memoire which detailed six separate incidents involving the alleged extrajudicial execution by the NRA of some 64 people.” (Amnesty Report 1986-1989, Uganda)

A report by the chairman of the Koch-Gama divisional RC on 29 December 1988 describes the deaths of 88 people in the division at the hands of the NRA between 7 and 25 December. According to this report, 45 prisoners of the army who had been kept in a cell at Koch-Gama were taken to Lukutu village where they were forced into arass house and burned to death” (Amnesty Report 1986-1989, Uganda)

Amnesty International also notes that in the past the authorities have announced investigations into a number of serious incidents reported in other parts of Uganda, notably the killing of 69 prisoners at Okungulo railway station in Kumi District in July 1989, incidents in Pallisa District in April and May 1990 in which 12 civilians are reported to have died, and various incidents in Soroti District in 1990, including the burning to death of 16 people in Bugondo Sub-County on 10 August and the extrajudicial execution of 20 people near Soroti town on 6 September 1990” (Uganda: Human rights violations by the National Resistance Army, Amnesty International).

Despite public statements by the authorities that human rights violations were not tolerated, the pattern of extrajudicial executions by troops engaged in counter-insurgency operations continued. Incidents were reported from Gulu, Pallisa, Kumi and Soroti districts. In February a massive operation in the east involved the forcible relocation of 120,000 people to camps close to towns and NRA posts. Anyone found by soldiers in the cleared area was regarded as hostile to the army” (…) “As this list of killings illustrates all too starkly, there has been a consistent pattern of extrajudicial executions by soldiers since the NRM came to power. The victims have included prisonersand unarmed civilians who were not involved in fighting. It is also clear that the army’s High Command has failed to take concerted and effective action to bring this pattern to an end” (Amnesty International – ‘Uganda: The failure to safeguard human rights’ September 1992).

Police and soldiers carried out extrajudicial executions. At least 996 prisoners were under sentence of death at the end of the year, including at least 30 sentenced during the year, and three men were executed. Armed opposition groups were responsible for gross human rights abuses, including hundreds of deliberate and arbitrary killings and rape” (Amnesty International Report 1997).

Police and soldiers were responsible for at least 20 extrajudicial executions. In July police in Kampala arrested two suspected thieves and shot them dead a few hours later. In August police in Lira tortured Alex Okello, who they claimed was an armed robber, to make him reveal where he had hidden his weapon. They then took him outside the town and shot him dead. In September, four civilians in Omoro, who soldiers claimed were lra members, were shot dead” (Amnesty International Report, 1998).

Soldiers and police were responsible for at least 40 killings that appeared to be extrajudicial executions. For example, in January, three prisoners in Luwero were shot dead by police officers who had taken them into the countryside, ostensibly to recover abandoned arms. In May, three alleged armed robbers were shot dead in Gulu. In both cases the police claimed that the prisoners were trying to escape” (Amnesty International Report, 1999).

In 2000 and 2001 (4 officially killed Hafusa Muzamili & 3 others killed, they mention one incident of extrajudicial killings. But not big ones like in the past.

Amnesty International is concerned for the safety of 19 prisoners held by the Ugandan army, the Uganda People’s Defence Forces (UPDF) in Gulu Municipality, northern Uganda. On 16 September, Peter Oloya was killed by the UPDF in a suspected extrajudicial execution within the prison grounds, as they tried to illegally remove all 20 prisoners from Gulu Central Prison” (Amnesty International, 2002).

There was no referral to extrajudicial killings between 2003 to 2006 in the Amnesty reports. Neither was there any direct referral to extrajudicial killings between 2007 to 2009. Not in the ones I could see. 

Up to 27 people were reportedly killed during the riots. At least half of them died after being shot by police and security personnel. The government did not conduct an independent and impartial investigation into the killings by security forces, some of which may have been unlawful, in order to bring those responsible for human rights violations to justice” (Amnesty Report, 2010).

Dozens of people in the north-eastern Karamoja region were reported to have been killed during the year in disputed circumstances by government soldiers engaged in security and disarmament operations” (Amnesty International, 2011).

The police and military personnel used excessive force during public demonstrations on at least six different occasions in April and May. Live ammunition was fired into crowds of protesters, killing at least nine people – including a two-year-old girl – and injuring dozens of others” (Amnesty International, 2012).

In July, groups of armed men staged violent attacks mainly on police posts in Bundibugyo, Kasese and Ntoroko. At least 65 people were killed in the attacks, including civilians, some of the attackers, and members of the police force and the army” (Amnesty International, 2015).

On 28 November, at least 100 people were killed and 139 others arrested in clashes between security agencies and palace guards in the western town of Kasese, according to police” (Amnesty International, 2017),

Police and military shot and killed at least six people in Kampala, Mityana, Katwe and Gomba, during protests against security forces’ abusive conduct in the period around the Arua by-election” (Amnesty International, 2018).

We all, know who has followed Uganda knows there are more than this. Still, this are the ones amplified by the Amnesty International Reports. They still show a pattern and worth reading. Because it shows something about the use of extrajudicial killings in the Republic. Which is worrying, as the elections usually amplify the violence from the authorities against the crowds of citizens flocking around opposition candidates. Like the death of Ritah today in Kampala.

That is why this need to be addressed. This is just one simple man, looking into one set of data. But considering doing this properly, the amount of extrajudicial killings would be even more staggering. This is just the tip of the iceberg. Still, its breathtaking and showing how prevalent it is. Peace.

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