As you are all aware, there is public debate and outrage from sections of the Muslim Community, including the Uganda Muslim Lawyers Association, after a video clip captured Law Enforcement Officers, breaking and entering into the home of Sheikh Muhammad Yunus Kamoga on the 2.06.2023.
The video showed the officers, assaulting, kicking, gun butting and torturing victims. We have seen an online statement from the Uganda Muslim Lawyers Association (UMLAS), expressing dismay and condemnation of the alleged raid, attacks, breaking and related unlawful actions, at the residence of Amir Ummar, Sheikh Muhammad Yunus Kamoga.
As the Joint Security Agencies, we would like to remind the Muslim Communities that equal protection and due process rights are afforded to everyone in the country. It is therefore, not true that Muslims in the country are being targeted because of their religion.
You are all aware our police officers responded to complaints from parents, whose children went missing from schools and homes, and were traced to the alleged rehabilitation centre at Ttula – Kawempe. While at the premises, our officers were denied entry, initially for unknown reasons, which prompted a break in and entry.
Every lawyer in this country, knows very well, that the police have powers to break-in or out of any premise, if there are reasonable grounds. It was therefore, not unlawful to break and enter into the home.
The only challenge we had, is that the officers did not display the right professional attitude, the force and the public expected of them. The abusive and excessive use of force, violated both the police code of conduct and the rights of victims.
We would like to assure the Muslim Community that 13 officers who participated in the raid have been suspended, and scheduled to appear before the disciplinary court. They also remain under investigation for torture and aggressive behaviour, pending retrieval of medical forms issued to the victims.
As the Joint Security Agencies, we remain committed to investigating all instances of torture or civil rights violations against all Ugandans, including Muslims.
As we pledge to work with all religious leaders, its important for all Ugandans to know that the war on terror is still on, and not aimed at any ethnic group or religion.
We however, have a duty to apply appropriate scrutiny, when folks have significant foreign national contacts, recruiting children and radicalising them, or having linkages with hostile groups like the ADF.
Although, the President of the UMLA, Kankaka Ali, accuses the Police Spokesperson for telling lies and innuendos, we find it important for him to also avail the public with clear records of the alleged rehabilitation centre, consent forms of parents, entry records/visas of children from the DRC and Rwanda, the teaching curriculum at the centre, records of graduates and their whereabouts among others.
We pledge to continue working together with the entire Muslim fraternity, in order to combat negative misconceptions of violence and hatred by Law Enforcement Personnel. And further promote values that advocate tolerance, dialogue and acceptance of each other.
SCP Enanga Fred
12th June 2023