Language version

Crime

Seven Ugandan Army Commanders Face American Sanctions

Advertisement

Published

on

Seven top to middle commanders of security forces in Uganda could soon find themselves on America’s list of Specially Delegated Nationals and Blocked Persons (SDN). This list has individuals targeted under various U.S. sanctions programs.

The seven commanders include Lt. Gen. Peter Elwelu, the Commander of Land Forces, Maj. Gen. James Birungi, the Commander of the Special Forces Command, Maj. Gen. Don William Nabasa, the former Commander of the Special Forces Command, Maj. Gen. Abel Kandiho, the Chief of Military Intelligence, Maj. Gen. Steven Sabiiti Muzeyi, the Deputy Inspector of General of Police, Frank Mwesigwa, a Commissioner of Police, and Col. Chris Serunjogi Ddamulira, the Director of Crime Intelligence.

The seven face American sanctions following a request forwarded to the U.S. Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, by the Chairman of the Committee on Foreign Affairs, Eliot Engel which cited their alleged involvement in human rights abuses past and present.

Engel’s letter has attracted public attention just days after The Independent wrote a story titled: “Where is Ochola, Sabiiti as police unleash terror? They can hide but cannot escape, say human rights watchers” (The Independent  Dec.04)

The story reported how Human rights lawyers and activists want the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) to take interest in the recent acts of violence by agents of security forces, especially the police.

Isaac Semakadde, a human rights lawyer and activist, told The Independent that special attention should focus on the Inspector General of Police (IGP), John Martins Okoth Ochola and his deputy (DIGP) Maj. Gen. Steven Sabiiti Muzeyi. DIGP Sabiiti is now a U.S. marked man, Ochola is not – yet. But for how long?

The Independent’s story also included the U.S’s condemnation of recent election violence.

“The United States deplores the violence that has claimed multiple lives today, and we extend our sympathy to the victims’ families and loved ones,” said a Nov.19 statement from the new American ambassador to Uganda, Natalie Brown.

It added: “A full and independent investigation should be launched into the events of 18th and 19th of November, to ensure justice for victims and to avoid impunity for the perpetrators who must be held accountable for their actions”

Some of the commanders have not been directly linked to human rights abuse but international law puts command responsibility on the shoulders of superior commanders. Acts of violence and abuse of human rights by junior officers are blamed on the senior commander who is responsible for guiding foot soldiers. Some of the commanders are not to command the abuses from the background.

Congressman Engel’s letter is significant because it follows on the heels of another written in December 2018 to Pompeo by four congressmen; Robert Menendez, Christopher Coons, Edward Markey, and Cory Booker. This letter did not mention names. But it mentioned almost the same incidents of alleged human rights violations as those cited by Engel.

They cite the November 2016 attack by Ugandan security forces on the palace of the Rwenzururu king Wesley Mumbere in Kasese in which over 100 civilians were allegedly massacred and the September 2017 attack on parliament by Special Forces during the debate over whether to remove presidential age limits from the constitution, which now allows President Museveni to rule indefinitely. They mention MP Betty Nambooze who suffered serious spinal injuries. They also mention the July 2018 social media tax and say it was designed to discourage anti-government mobilisation on the part of youths and dissidents, and the arrest and torture in 2018 of Robert Kyagulanyi and 32 other opposition politicians following a by-election in Arua.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has responded to Engels letter.

“The United States is a longstanding partner of Uganda. We expect our partners to live up to their obligations to hold free and fair elections. We are paying close attention to the actions of individuals who seek to impede the ongoing democratic process”, Pompeo tweeted.

That is the same off-hand manner of Pompeo’s boss, out-going U.S. President Donald Trump. But analysts say the incoming administration of Joe Biden could herald a resetting of USA-Africa policy.

Engel’s letter also mentions MP Francis Zaake brutalisation for distributing supplies to needy citizens during the coronavirus lockdown. The recent protests, in which up to 54 people were killed by Ugandan security forces following protests in Kampala, is also listed by Engel.

“These violent incidents reflect a highly disturbing trajectory for the country, thus ensuring that the environment for general elections in January 2021 has been fundamentally tilted in favour of an incumbent who has been in power since 1986,” Engel writes.

Based on this, Engel asks the Treasury Department and the State Department to utilise the authority of the Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act (Global Magnitsky Act) to designate individuals who may be responsible for violence in Uganda in recent years.  This means the listed seven commanders are a small sample of those who could be listed.

In September 2019, the U.S government sanctioned former Uganda Police chief Gen.Kale Kayihura under the same Global Magnitsky Act. He was also accused of serious human rights abuses and corruption.

At the time, on September 23, 2019, The Independent ran the story under the headline; “America pins ex-IGP Kayihura on torture: Who is next on sanctions list?”

“We are targeting Uganda’s former Police Inspector General Kale Kayihura for using corruption and bribery to strengthen his political position, as units under his command committed serious human rights abuses,” said Sigal Mandelker, Treasury Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence. “The U.S. government is committed to leveraging our human rights and corruption authorities to target, disrupt, and counter those who engage in abuse and corruption around the world.”

The Independent

Advertisement
1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. froleprotrem

    March 23, 2021 at 4:46 am

    I just couldn’t go away your website before suggesting that I extremely enjoyed the usual info a person supply for your visitors? Is gonna be back regularly in order to investigate cross-check new posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Crime

FLN (National Liberation Front) Members Sentenced for Terrorism Offences

Published

on

Today, the High Court Chamber for International Crimes deliver its verdict on 21 defendants who, as members of the National Liberation Front (FLN), have been accused of terrorism charges, with three convictions being handed down so far.

The charges related to acts of terrorism, focusing particularly on two organised attacks that took place in 2018. The brutal and unprovoked attacks, carried out by the FLN, tragically took the lives of nine innocent Rwandans, including children aged 13 and 17.

They left many others gravely injured, and caused significant material and economic damage in South-West Rwanda.

Among those sentenced was the FLN’s commander and spokesperson, Callixte Nsabimana, who was arrested in 2019.

Prior to this, he had claimed responsibility for the 2018 attacks, and had announced plans for further attacks. He was sentenced to twenty years in prison, having pleaded guilty to most charges.

Another FLN spokesperson, Herman Nsengimana, was sentenced to five years in prison. A member of the CNRD (Conseil national pour la renaissance et la démocratie), Nsengimana was arrested in 2019 in Congo’s South Kivu province along with over 400 other CNRD insurgents.

The CNRD is a splinter faction of the Congo-based FDLR (Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda). It was led by FLN co-founder Colonel Wilson Iratekega until his death in January 2020.

Also convicted was the FLN’s founder, Paul Rusesabagina, who was sentenced to twenty-five years. Prior to the trial, Rusesabagina publicly admitted to founding the group as the armed wing of his political party, the MRCD (Rwandan Movement for Democratic Change). He had repeatedly expressed support for the group’s activities, including after the 2018 attacks.

Rwanda Government Spokesperson, Yolande Makolo, remarked: “This lengthy trial has exposed the terrorist activities of the FLN group led by Rusesabagina.

The evidence against the accused was indisputable, and the people of Rwanda will feel safer now justice has been delivered.

The trial has been a long and painful ordeal for the victims of FLN attacks, particularly for those who were called upon to testify. Our thoughts today are with these brave witnesses, and the family and friends of the victims.”

 

Important notes on the case

1) The first FLN attack took place on 19 June 2018, in Nyabimata, Nyaruguru District. A subsequent attack took place nearby, in Kitabi, Nyamagabe District on 15 December 2018. Nine Rwandan civilians lost their lives in the attacks. The victims included two children: Ornella Sine Atete (13), and Isaac Niwenshuti (17).

2) In December 2018, Callixte Nsabimana, also known as “Sankara”, took to international radio and social media to announce that the FLN had claimed responsibility for these attacks. He was arrested in April 2019, and immediately pled guilty to 16 charges of terrorism.

Continue Reading

Crime

Mozambique Court Hears Africa’s Biggest Corruption Scandal Case

Published

on

A court in the Mozambique capital Maputo is hearing a case that has been described as the biggest scandal on the African continent.

Details indicate that It is one of the biggest corruption scandals on the continent, and it involves some of the most senior figures in the state.

Five years after the biggest corruption scandal in the country was revealed in 2016, the trial has opened in Maputo.

Since 23 August, the 19 Mozambican defendants, including the son of the former president, Armando Ndambi Guebuza, have been appearing before Judge Efigenio Baptista.

The latter is presiding over the hearings which are to be held until December 2 in front of a prison in the capital.

Cited by several defendants as a key figure in the case, the current president and defense minister, Filipe Nyusi, will not be heard and continues to deny any involvement.

At the origin of the scandal which plunged the country into an unprecedented financial crisis: the secret and illegal subscription by three Mozambican companies of a loan of more than U$ 2 billion – U$2.7billion according to the Maputo court – guaranteed by the Mozambican State.

The sums, paid between 2012 and 2013, were to be used to finance a vast project of shipbuilding, fishing and maritime surveillance headed by the French construction company CMN (Mechanical constructions of Normandy) owned by the Lebanese group Privinvest Holdings.

As early as 2015, the house of cards collapsed as the revelations followed one another. Parliament, supposed to guarantee the loan, was never consulted.

The project, which was to be development-oriented, is in fact mostly military. Companies have never been fully operational. More than U$ 713 million in extra billing has been identified …

A complex montage, intended to fuel a sprawling system of corruption in which some of the high-ranking figures in power circles are involved.

In addition to three Swiss bankers and a Lebanese intermediary, some fifteen very senior Mozambican officials are suspected of having shared more than 200 million bribes …

The country’s already battered economy is collapsing. The direct and indirect consequences of this fraud have already cost U$ 11 billion, or U$ 400 per capita – the equivalent of 70% of GDP in 2019 – according to Chr. Michelsen Institute, a Norwegian organization, which estimates that more than 2 million Mozambicans have been thrown into poverty.

Continue Reading

Crime

Two Drug Dealers Arrested with 7,493 Pellets of Cannabis

Published

on

Rwanda National Police (RNP) arrested two people on Saturday, September 11, in Nyabihu District with 7,493 pellets of cannabis.

The suspected drug dealers identified as Theoneste Niyomugabo, 21 and Twizerimana Hitabatuma, 34, were intercepted in Nyakigezi village, Gakoro cell, Rugera sector as they carried the narcotics on a bicycle.

The Western region Police spokesperson, Chief Inspector of Police (CIP) Bonaventure Twizere Karekezi said that the suspects were intercepted by traffic Police officers on duty.

“Traffic Police officers who were on duty in Nyakigezi village, stopped three people who were on one bicycle ridden by Theoneste Mugabo with a sack. When Police officers searched the sack they found it contained pellets of cannabis. Mugabo and Hitabatuma were arrested by their third accomplice fled in the process,” CIP Karekezi said.

Upon their arrest, the suspects disclosed that they got the narcotics from Musanze District and that they were enroute to Muhanga District to supply their clients.

CIP Karekezi warned commercial bicyclists and taxi-moto operators against engaging or facilitating drug traffickers

The two suspects were handed over to RIB at Rugera station for further investigation while the search of accomplices is still ongoing.

Continue Reading

Trending

Share
Share via