Uganda: Hundreds of dissidents allegedly kidnapped
Opposition leader Bobi Wine, relatives accuse authorities of being behind abductions
Hundreds of abductions have been reported across Uganda since presidential elections were held earlier last month.
Plain-clothed membres of the defense forces have reportedly been behind the nighttime kidnappings, which have targeted members of the National Unity Platform (NUP) of opposition leader Robert Kyagulanyi, popularly known as Bobi Wine, according to relatives and NUP leadership.
Bobi Wine lost the election on Jan. 14 to incumbent President Yoweri Museveni. Wine has challenged the elections in court, saying he was cheated by Museveni.
Authorities in the East African country maintain that the government has so far arrested only 31 NUP members on suspicions of planning a rebellion and have vowed that such operations would continue.
Interior Minister General Jeje Odongo told the parliament last Thursday that they were aware of only 31 people arrested and being investigated by police over terrorism.
Police spokesman Fred Enanga said Tuesday: "All those arrested will be investigated and those found with cases will be charged in courts of law."
Relatives of those kidnapped allege that those taken are beaten severely before being placed in vehicles with no number plates and taken to unknown places. They told Anadolu Agency that they have failed to trace where their family members are being held.
Wife of one of the abducted, Ritah Namazzi, 30, said: "It was past midnight when men with guns knocked at our door. When I opened they told me that they wanted my husband. He had hidden under the bed. I deceived them that he was not around but they entered and found him hiding. They beat him and pushed him in their vehicle."
Addressing NUP members at his home at Magere earlier this week, Bobi Wine said an estimated 3,000 party members have been abducted.
"Over 3,000 of our supporters have been abducted by security agencies. We condemn such acts that violate human rights."