British Police Seek Uganda Officials' Names

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Three months ago a Ugandan in London was allegedly assaulted by Yoweri K. Museveni’s bodyguards when he challenged the president at a public appearance, denouncing him as a “liar” and “war criminal.”

British police now say Ugandan High Commission officials aren’t cooperating with investigations of the alleged assault of the Ugandan, Dr. Rashid Kasaato, who has since filed a police complaint.

Separately, Dr. Kasaato, who is a member of the opposition Justice Forum UK-Chapter and a G6 Spokesman –a loose umbrella organization of Uganda political opposition groups – is seeking legal action. He alleges the president’s guards squeezed and bruised his testicles when they manhandled him.

High Commission officials have declined British Police’s request for the names of the Presidential Guard Brigade members who allegedly assaulted Dr. Kasaato, the police tell The Black Star News. The British Crime Management Unit says it has made three attempts to get information from the High Commission, only to be rebuffed. Detective Constable Lucy Kilgour, who was initially assigned to investigate the names of the bodyguards from the High Commission in London says “Uganda embassy has totally refused to cooperate with the Police.” She says she referred the matter to her supervisor Senior Detective Constable Carol Andrews.

“It’s not the Ugandan High Commission that decides who has diplomatic immunity, it’s our duty to find out, but our effort to get the names has fallen on deaf ears,” SDC Andrews adds. “I have worked for the force for over 25 years, but I have never seen a non-cooperating embassy like this.”

She added that, “The embassy’s duty is only to provide the names of the team for us to verify who has diplomatic immunity, but that has not happened.” British Police say they may involve Interpol in the matter. Additionally, police may seek a travel ban against the Presidential bodyguards.

Uganda’s High Commissioner couldn’t be reached for comment but her deputy, Mumtaz Kassam denied that officials weren’t working with British police: “We have been cooperating with police and not refused—I know little because I have been to Kampala but it’s not true that we refused to cooperate with police.” Mumtaz said she would call back with additional information but hadn’t done so by publication time.

The alleged assault occurred November 19, 2006 when President Museveni was making what he’d hoped would be a glowing presentation of his 20 years in office to diplomats, potential investors, foreign journalists, and ordinary Ugandans in London. When Dr. Kasaato challenged the president, referred to him as a war criminal, and accused him of deliberately ignoring the targic war in northern Uganda, he was confronted by the Ugandan body guards. Dr. Kasaato has since gained legendary fame as a result of the incident.

President General of Justice Forum Prof. Kibirige M. Mayanja wants to see more action. “We as Justice Forum Party request the Commonwealth and Foreign Affairs office to put pressure on the Uganda embassy to release the names of those individuals,” he said.

Miwambo is The Black Star News’ Europe correspondent based in London



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