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.

Joint Declaration between the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia and the Ogaden National Liberation Front (21.10.2018)

Somalia’s destiny lies in the hands of the people, highlights outgoing UN envoy (14.09.2018)

Despite remarkable achievements in Somalia in the recent past, structural challenges remain and continue to undermine the country’s security and political stability, the United Nations envoy for the country has warned.

DAKAR, Senegal, September 14, 2018 – Briefing the Security Council for the last time in his capacity as UN Special Representative for Somalia, Michael Keating called on all Somalis to draw strength from the positive transformations going on inside the country and work collectively for the common good.

“The future of Somalia is in the hands of the Somalis,” he declared.

In particular, Mr. Keating – who also heads the UN Assistance Mission in Somalia (UNSOM) – urged unity among political leaders.

“The more [they] show unity, the greater the opportunity, and the responsibility, of international partners to invest in all parts of the country and its leadership,” he said.

In his remarks, Mr. Keating highlighted four key concerns the country’s leaders need to address, and issues that the international community should keep focusing on.

These include the threat posed by the Al Shabaab and other extremist groups; the risk of political differences overshadowing progress in legislative, reform and security areas; fragmentation within the international community; and the danger of a humanitarian “catastrophe”, especially with most of the population already living in precarious circumstances due to climate change and other vulnerabilities.

“Future crises will result from the combination of climate related shocks; armed conflict provoked by Al Shabaab and unresolved grievances; competition over natural resources; and systemic marginalization of certain groups,” warned Mr. Keating. He underscored the need to reduce the vulnerability faced by ordinary Somalis, through job creation and smart investments that safeguard natural resources and help unlock the enormous economic potential of the country.

Besides political will, Mr. Keating underscored, success will depend on leaders from the political, business and traditional spheres “working together for the common good, leveraging the country’s potential wealth to transform prospects for people – especially the young.”

On 1 October, Nicholas Haysom will replace Mr. Keating as the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Somalia and the head of UNSOM. Mr. Keating was appointed the top UN official in the Horn of Africa nation in November 2015.

Women have brought ‘important voices’ to Somali politics

Alongside Mr. Keating, Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, the Executive Director of the UN gender equality and empowerment agency for women and girls (UN Women) highlighted the “once-in-a-generation opportunity” that Somalia currently has to establish lasting peace, and gender equality.

She commended the nation for improving representation of women in public office, illustrated by the “jump” in women’s representation in parliamentary elections from 14 to nearly 25 per cent of seats in the most recent elections.

This progress, she underscored, has brought many “important voices” to Somali politics.

She said it had brought to the centre “the fight to end child marriage, end female genital mutilation (FGM), and change laws that discriminate against women,” noting that the participation of women will be further boosted if more leaders, especially clan leaders, embrace gender equality and support women.

She also called on the international community and the Security Council to support Somalia’s federal and provincial authorities, advance gender equality, act strongly against sexual and gender-based violence, advocate for meaningful participation and recognition of women in all sectors, and support women’s groups in the country.

“Women’s organizations in Somalia are organized. They are dedicated to their country: they are activists, advocates, entrepreneurs, professionals, and patriots,” said Ms. Mlambo-Ngcuka, noting that as the country prepares to confront the challenges in the days ahead, “women will make the difference.”

Somalia: Food security improving but recovery remains fragile (02.09.2018)

South Sudan: CTSAMM Report 2018/24 – Military Movement and Offensive Military Operations in the Wau Area – Executive Summary (26.07.2018)

Djibouti: President Ismail Omar Guelleh letter to Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed Ali on the killings in Dire Dawa (09.08.2018)

Ethiopia: PM Abiy Ahmed Ali letter to President Ismael Omar Gulleh of Djibouti on killings in Dire Dawa (07.08.2018)

Ethiopia: PM Abiy Ahmed announce the formation of the Ethiopian Diaspora Trust Fund Advisory Council (09.08.2018)

Is the Ogaden crisis escalating into a civil-war?

The Somali Region or the Ogaden Region have been under-fire for months. Over the weekend the Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Defence Force (EPRDF) send the Ethiopian National Defense Force (ENDF) to takeover the capital of the region, they ceased the important buildings as the looting and destroying of city, therefore, the army took the Parliament, the banks and major buildings. While the local group Heego of Abdi Illey created havoc. By Saturday, there was reports of calm, but the army was out and the Liyu Police had taken control.

Today on Monday after time in house-arrest, Illey have been sacked and he has gotten a successor by the authorities. However, the violence isn’t slowing down, but escalating to heavy proportions. You can wonder how many Somali people have to die, because of the will of Oromo to annex this region and its resources. Oromo People’s Democratic Organization (OPDO) and the EPRDF needs to react and stop the violence. That Dr. Abiy Ahmed Ali have been silent and not really reacted, but let the Oromo attack these areas and killing, also accepting the army ceasing JigJjiga, isn’t a good sign. That is a sign of internal battlefield within the Federal Republic. Not pacing down, but more violence and more hurt for innocent civilians.

The town of Tuliguleed has been a flash point for conflict between indigenous Somalis and Oromo settlers in the past but what has transpired in the past 24 hours has never been seen before. Heavily armed Oromo militia’s launched an indiscriminate attack on multiple Somali inhabited villages on the border between Ogaden and the neighboring Oromo regional state. Armed Oromo militia’s entered the villages and began indiscriminately opening fire on civilians, forcing hundreds to flee to the nearby town of Tuliguleed and the surrounding areas. The rogue paramilitary militia’s began subsequently burning villages to the ground, till it was completely ash. A total of nine villages where burned to the ground” (Halgan Media – ‘Oromo Militia’s Burn Down Nine Villages In Ogaden Within The Past 24 Hours’ 06.08.2018 link: http://halganmedia.net/oromo-militias-burn-down-nine-villages-in-ogaden-within-the-past-24-hours/).

There are reports of violence also in Harar, Dire Dawa and not only in the areas around Jigjiga. But this is deliberate activity, especially when the authorities have cut the Telecommunications, the internet and everything else used to spread a single word. This is what the EPRDF have done in Amhara and Oromia, when they have forced their State of Emergency to control these areas. Instead of doing it there by the Tigray People’s Liberation Force (TPLF), not the Queero and the Oromos feels big enough to charge at the people of Ogaden. This happens as the oil revenue has come.

This comes after killings last month in Moyale, as their been movement and seems to be planned violence now within the Ogaden. Like they want to burn and destroy, so they can move in and occupy it. It is an ancient tactic done by plenty and now the Oromo is doing it to their Somali brothers. This is sad as the Oromo and Oromia have been protesting and fighting for their rights. Instead of living in solidarity and trying to forge unity with the rest of the Federal Republic. They are using violence against brothers. That is just sad and mediocre of the people whose deserved to be free from toils of the TPLF. Is using the same means and deception of violence against others. They should know better, because they really had their hurt and pain for so long because of EPRDF.

It is impossible to know at the moment how many whose died in the skirmishes from ENDF and Queero in Ogaden. But each one, is one to many, just like every single one dying in Oromia because of the TPLF, was one to many. No one deserves to die because of the attitude of supremacy or ideals of that sort. Peace.

Djibouti: Le Premier Ministre – Communique du Gouvernment de la Republique de Djibouti (06.08.2018)