Uganda slams 'disappointing' US move to sanction top spy
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Kampala – Uganda's military on Tuesday slammed a decision by the United States to impose sanctions on a top intelligence official over human rights violations, saying it was "disappointed" by the move.
The sanctions announced Tuesday by the US Treasury targeted Uganda's chief of military intelligence, Major General Abel Kandiho, citing his and his office's involvement in serious human rights abuses including beatings, sexual assault and electrocution.
"Individuals... were subjected to horrific beatings and other egregious acts by (military intelligence) officials, including sexual abuse and electrocutions, often resulting in significant long-term injury and even death," the US statement said.
"In some cases, Kandiho was personally involved, leading interrogations of detained individuals," who were often singled out due to their political views, their nationality or for criticising the government, the statement added.
The Ugandan military hit back at the sanctions, saying it was "disappointed that such a decision could be made by a country we consider friendly, a partner and a great ally, without due process and in total disregard of the principle of "fair hearing"."
It said it would "be seeking clarification" from US authorities on the matter.
Rights activists have previously accused the military intelligence service of orchestrating abuses against members of the opposition including forced disappearances.
Ugandan opposition leader Bobi Wine has alleged that hundreds of his supporters were abducted by security forces in the run-up to elections in January this year.
The hotly disputed vote returned President Yoweri Museveni to power for a sixth term after a violent campaign marked by the harassment and arrest of opposition figures and the deaths of several dozen people.
The US embassy said Uganda's election campaign had been "marred by the harassment of opposition candidates, campaign staff, and supporters; suppression of the media and civil society organisation activities; and a nationwide internet shutdown before, during, and after voting day."
Museveni and his ministers have admitted that hundreds of Ugandans are in military detention but say they will either face a military tribunal or be released.
Agence France-Press (AFP)