By Peter Sserugo
The chairperson of the Uganda Human Rights Commission (UHRC), Ms Mariam Wangadya, has revealed that the Commission has resolved to close 18 files of the allegedly missing National Unity Platform (NUP) party supporters after failing to trace them for the last 12 months.
While releasing a report on the commission’s findings about the 30 missing NUP supporters in Kampala yester- day, Ms Wangadya said UHRC only managed to trace 12 people.
“It will be futile for us to keep these files open when the people provided to us as the next of kin of these missing persons are not interested in these cases. So, we have taken a decision to close those files,” Ms Wangadya said.
Last year, the NUP secretary general, Mr Lewis Rubongoya, petitioned the human rights body to investigate alleged cases of abduction for 25 of their supporters who were missing then.
Mr Rubongoya added five more members on the list between January and February, elevating the number of the missing persons to 30. However, Ms Wangadya noted that whereas the NUP secretariat submitted names of the victims and their next of kin, they failed to provide the key identification details such as their national identification cards, which complicated the investigation process.
“Mr Rubongoya did not provide us with National Identity card numbers for the majority of the alleged missing people despite reminders. Even some relatives of the alleged missing people were not cooperative in providing the necessary information,” she said.
“So, it was difficult for us to establish whether those victims ever existed and even some alleged torture victims turned out to be victims of road accidents. Such a trend of incidents has led the Commission to question the credibility of the complaints referred to us,” she added.
According to the UHRC, 12 of the persons who were reported missing were arrested on suspicion of having committed several offenses and were either released on police bond or court bail. Majority of the missing NUP supporters were allegedly abducted before, during after the 2021 General Electoral process.