The Security Minister General Elly Tumwine has been under pressure to clarify the existence of ‘safe’ houses run by intelligence agencies. In front of a parliamentary committee, the Minister was at pain to explain why members of parliament were not allowed to visit these ‘safe’ house suspected to be torture chambers. In particular, two suspected torture centers, Kyengera and Kalangala, are targeted by parliament for oversight.
The Minister, in his justification for ‘safe’ houses, explained that the houses are used for briefing and debriefing intelligent assets, that the houses serve to protect witnesses and astonishingly that they serve to manage ‘hardcore criminals who require a long time to reform’. Gen Tumwine was clear on one thing, members of parliament will not be allowed to visit these ‘safe’ house. He literally took parliamentarians for fools, witness protection and reforming criminals fall under the minister of justice’s docket. Intelligence run ‘safe’ houses are code for illegal detention and torture facilities.
According to Rwandan survivors of torture in Uganda, Ugandan intelligence agencies hold hundreds of Rwandans in these ‘safe’ houses. They are kept in appalling conditions, beatings, electric shocks, sleep-deprived, and starved. The Security Minister would have no issue with the members of parliament visiting a witness protection program, it is the hundreds held incommunicado arbitrarily under severe torture that the minister is hiding.
‘Safe’ houses also hide another secret, they are the epicenter of the interaction of the Rwandan National Congress, a Rwandan terrorist group, and the Ugandan Chieftaincy of the Military Intelligence (CMI). They abduct, interrogate and torture jointly, a number of survivors testify to the presence of RNC agents actively participating in torture session. The Security Minister General can hide is ‘safe’-houses for now, eventually, the future will reveal what actually transpires in the pseudo-‘safe’ house.