U.S. Sanctions Uganda’s Intelligence Chief Gen. Kandiho And 14 Other Global Human Rights Violators

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Blood on his hands. Sanctioned Ugandan Intelligence Chief Gen. Kandiho. Photo: Facebook.

The U.S. Treasury Department has announced sanctions against 15 global human rights abusers including Uganda’s notorious intelligence chief Gen. Abel Kandiho.

The general is commander of the Ugandan Chieftaincy of Military Intelligence (CMI), and is very close to Uganda’s military dictator of 35 years Gen. Yoweri Museveni. After the country’s Jan. 14, 2021 election when Gen. Museveni stole the presidential vote from now 39 year old challenger Bobi Wine, the U.S. rejected the official results awarding "victory" to the dictator by his hand-picked election "commission." In an April 16 statement the U.S. said the elections were “neither free nor fair” and announced sanctions including visa bans against unnamed officials involved in election rigging and violence. 

The list of Ugandan officials sanctioned in April has remained sealed although it’s widely believed it may include Gen. Museveni himself, as commander in chief, and his son Gen. Muhoozi Kaenerugaba, who commands the land forces. Most Uganda observers believed Gen. Kandiho's name is also on the April list, which is separate from today's Treasury Department actions. 

In today’s Treasury Department statement the U.S. said Kandiho and other CMI officers “arrested, detained, and physically abused persons in Uganda.” 

“The CMI targeted individuals due to their nationality, political views, or critique of the Ugandan government,” the U.S. Treasury Department statement added. “Individuals were taken into custody and held, often without legal proceedings, at CMI detention facilities where they were subjected to horrific beatings and other egregious acts by CMI officials, including sexual abuse and electrocutions, often resulting in significant long-term injury and even death. During these incarcerations, victims were kept in solitary confinement and unable to contact friends, family, or legal support. In some cases, Kandiho was personally involved, leading interrogations of detained individuals.”

Kandiho was sanctioned for being “a leader or official of an entity that has engaged in, or whose members have engaged in, serious human rights abuse relating to his tenure,” the U.S. said.

“Ahead of this week’s Summit for Democracy, Treasury is targeting over a dozen government officials across three countries in connection with serious human rights abuse that undermines democracy,” said Director of the Office of Foreign Assets Control Andrea M. Gacki. “Treasury will continue to defend against authoritarianism, promoting accountability for violent repression of people seeking to exercise their human rights and fundamental freedoms.” 

Several African countries were invited to the Summit for Democracy, to be hosted by President Biden; the Ugandan regime was notably excluded. 

The U.S. actions against Kandiho and other foreign officials today were based on several laws, including Executive Order (E.O.) 13818, which builds upon and implements the Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act, and targets perpetrators of corruption and serious human rights abuse.

In November 2020, weeks before the rigged Ugandan elections, security forces massacred more than 100 civilians. Gen. Museveni himself conceded that 54 people were killed. There were more killings during the election and thereafter security forces launched a campaign of kidnapping, torture, and killings of young Ugandans--widely covered by media-- who were accused by the regime of supporting Bobi Wine’s presidential bid. 

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