U.S. ‘gravely concerned’ over reports of abuse by Uganda security forces

U.S. ‘gravely concerned’ over reports of abuse by Uganda security forces

The U.S. is gravely concerned over the use of excessive force by Uganda security forces against lawmakers and journalists in Arua, a State Department official has said.

He also reiterated calls for the American nation to suspend funding for military operations in Uganda.

“We have received multiple credible reports of excessive use of force by the Special Forces Command (SFC),including abuse of members of parliament, journalists and others,” the state official said in a statement.

“The United States has made clear to the Ugandan government that such human rights abuses are unacceptable.”

Washington is a major source of funding for Uganda’s military, supplying hardware, cash and training.

It has given equipment, money and intelligence for the military’s hunt for Lord’s Resistance Army warlord Joseph Kony.

President Yoweri Museveni has also received diplomatic support from Washington for deploying troops in international peace keeping missions including the fight against militants in Somalia.

The State Department official in Kampala however said that the U.S. had not worked with Uganda’s Special Forces Command (SFC) since early 2016 because of human rights concerns.

The US relationship with Uganda was aimed at promoting stability and security in the region, he said adding:

“It is now up to the Ugandan government to demonstrate a respect for its constitution and its citizens and conduct a transparent, credible and timely investigation into these events, any security personnel found to have used inappropriate force must be held accountable.”

Opposition leader Robert Kyagulanyi also known as Bobi Wine and four other MPs were arrested in Arua last month.

Bobi Wine and fellow lawmaker Francis Zaake say they were tortured while in detention.

Wine was charged with treason for allegedly stoning Museveni’s convoy in Arua. He denied the charge.

Bobi Wine, who is currently in the United States for medical treatment, met with representatives from the State Department on Thursday last week.


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