Nine Arrested by CMI, to be charged over espionage

By Risde Kasasira:

Nine people including five police officers arrested by the Chieftaincy of Military Intelligence (CMI), which is also hunting three others in a crackdown that could shake the top ranks in the police hierarchy have arrived at Military Court where they are to be charged over espionage.

The suspects who also include Rwandans and Congolese nationals are accused of conspiracy with a neighbouring country to kidnap refugees in Uganda, who are perceived to be opponents of their home government.

The officers are: Commandant of Police Professional Standard Unit, Senior Commissioner of Police Joel Aguma, Senior Superintendent of Police Nixon Agasirwe, former commander of Police Special Operations, Sgt Abel Tumukunde under the Flying Squad, Assistant Superintendent of Police Magada under Crime Intelligence and Faisal Katende under the Flying Squad.

According to security sources, the police officers are accused of working with the government of a neighbouring State, which has been kidnapping refugees who flee political persecution.

Security sources said three other police officers eluded the arrest and are “on the run”.

Security sources refused to reveal their names for fear of jeopardising investigations, but said upon hearing that their colleagues had been summoned to CMI, they fled their duty stations and are unaccounted for to-date.

The five who are appearing at the Makindye based Court Martial had been going to military intelligence headquarters for interrogation since Friday. On Tuesday, after a day-long interrogation at CMI headquarters, they were told they were under arrest.

Police spokesperson Asan Kasingye on Wednesday said they did not know why their officers had been arrested or were being hunted for arrest.

Some of the suspects have previously been implicated in various cases.

Mr Aguma was suspended in 2013 for allegedly kidnaping and handing over a former bodyguard of the neighbouring country’s president.

The former bodyguard, a lieutenant, had fled to Uganda but was kidnapped in Kampala by security personnel and handed over to the home government.

He was later sentenced to life imprisonment by that country’s military court.

Mr Katende was suspended for alleged extortion in 2014. Their arrests, according to sources, came after President Museveni wrote to the Inspector General of Police, Gen Kale Kayihura, ordering for an investigation by CMI.

“It would be foolhardy to allow police investigate these officers because they would influence the outcome,” an intelligence source said.

Connivance.  The officers are accused of conspiring with a neighbouring country to kidnap refugees in Uganda, who are perceived to be opponents of their home government.