PRA Suspects Blind After Detention

2215 Views Arua, Uganda

In short
The suspects were released from detention on September 7th 2012 after spending several months in detention.

Four suspects of the shadowy People’s Redemption Army-PRA from Arua and Koboko districts have development permanent blindness after allegedly being subjected to torture in detention at Uganda Police Special Investigation Unit headquarters in Kireka. They are Nasur Adrabo, Nelson Andama, and Mustafa Atama all from Arua district and Juma Bondo from Koboko district. The suspects were released on September 7th 2012 after spending several months in detention. According to the police bond papers, the suspects are expected to report each week to Arua regional police headquarters.  However, the suspects have lost their eye sight which they blame on the pepper spray that was used on them during interrogations.

The frail looking suspects told URN on Wednesday that apart from becoming blind, they have also developed various deformities because of the extreme torture they were subjected to in the safe houses. Nasur Adrabo, one of the suspects says that they can no longer live their normal lives because of the pain resulting from the torture and loss of their eye sight. The helpless suspects say that they are left with nothing to do because they are still under trial for treason, apart from appealing for help from their area members of Parliament and FDC leadership. They claim that during trial they were interrogated on the role of Kiiza Besigey, the Former FDC leaders in PRA rebel activities.

Mark Mutono, the UPDF spokesperson for West Nile region declined to comment about the suspect and instead referred URN to the police. Josephine Angucia, the West Nile regional police spokesperson could neither confirm nor deny the allegations of torture made by the suspects. The revelation of torture by the suspects has drawn furious reactions from residents and area leaders in the region. They accuse security agencies of creating rebel groups to mint money from government. Led by Hassan Kaps Fungaroo, the leader say that it is unfortunate that security operatives use such opportunities to torture their victims. Fungaroo castigates government security agencies for failing to follow the constitutional provision requiring them to produce suspects in court within 48 hours.

//Cue in: “How will this…”
Cue out: …brings the sickness.”//

Swaleh Buga, a former LC V councilor for Arua Hill Division wonders how the families of the suspects will survive now that the bread winners are incapacitated. In 2005, a group of seven PRA suspects who were picked up from Arua district were released after undergoing extreme torture. Some of the suspects have since become impotent. In 2011, Human Rights Watch released a report pinning the Rapid Response Unit-RRU for using torture to extract confession from suspects forcing government to disband the unit.

 

About the author

Ronald Batre
Ronald Batre is so passionate about journalism that he did not wait to finish school before he started his career. This is how he started with Radio Paidha, The West Niler, Daily Monitor newspapers and later with Radio Pacis as Assistant News Editor.

To be allowed to practice his passion, Batre had struck a deal with his parents. He would complete his education. He kept his word and went through school while suporting himself with his journalism.

Entering the workplace so young attuned Batre to the plight of the youth and those who seek employment. Apart from that, he is interested in reporting about politics, local government, business and the environment. A witness to some of the destructive impact of the Lord's Resistance Army rebellion in northern Uganda, Batre is interested in reporting about peace building efforts too.

Uganda Radio Network's former Gulu bureau chief, Batre is now based in Kampala. He is URN's main politics correspondent. He has been a URN staff member since 2009.