Starting Monday, a sit-in at a Ugandan police station will protest the failure of police to arrest criminals who have twice broken into the offices of a gay-friendly legal aid group and murdered a security guard.
“The only secure place we can find for now is Old Kampala Police Station, which handled our case,” the Human Rights Awareness and Promotion Forum (HRAPF) announced today in response to a break-in early Friday (Feb. 9, 2018).
HRAPF said that it is seeking a comprehensive report on the police investigation of the break-in of May 22, 2016. It added about the sit-in:
“We are afraid to work from an office were a person was already murdered, and two more almost murdered and which is likely to be attacked again, without knowing what the police found out in in its investigations. We shall therefore not leave the Police Station until we have the said comprehensive report.
Adrian Jjuuko, executive director of HRAPF, issued this announcement of the planned protest:
HRAPF management and Board have resolved that HRAPF stages a sit-in at Old Kampala Police Station premises from 9am to 5pm every working day beginning Monday 12th 2018, until the Police provides a comprehensive report on their findings in the case of murder and office break-in that happened at HRAPF’s premises on the night of 22nd May 2016.
On that night, at least four assailants entered the secure HRAPF offices in Namirembe, murdered the security guard on duty, the late Emmanuel Arituha, and ransacked the Executive Director’s office, but only went away with a TV screen and a DVD player. The police took finger print evidence, blood samples and clear still and video footage from HRAPF’s CCTV cameras.
National and international partners called upon the Police to fully investigate the case but this was not done. Upon HRAPF insisting on a report, the Police only provided a short report concluding that the break-in was an ordinary act of robbery gone bad. None of the assailants was identified, no one was arrested, and no was one charged for the heinous crimes, despite all the evidence availed to the Police.
Now, less than two years later, a group of about nine people again jumped over the fence, hit the security guards and attack dog with iron bars and forcefully entered the offices, and this time took completely nothing.
Following the first incident, HRAPF did all that was possible within its means to further secure its premises including reinforcing its CCTV system, emergency alarm system, burglar proofing the offices, and installing razor wire. There is nothing more that we can now reasonably do.
As citizens with rights, we demand protection from the Police and therefore the only secure place we can find for now is Old Kampala Police Station which handled our case, and which never provided us with the kind of information we needed in order to secure ourselves and to know what we are up against.
HRAPF has over 25 staff who work at the office premises everyday. We are afraid to work from an office were a person was already murdered, and two more almost murdered and which is likely to be attacked again, without knowing what the police found out in in its investigations. We shall therefore not leave the Police Station until we have the said comprehensive report.
We ask our partners to support us and to stand up against the Police’s actions of ignoring the rampant break-ins at CSO offices which now number over 39 in the past three years, and which are curtailing the work of the sector.
Please join us on Monday 12 at 9am at Old Kampala Police Station. That is where we shall be providing all our services from including legal aid.
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