Uganda’s IGP Okoth Ochola confirms move to close Nalufenya

Uganda's IGP Okoth Ochola confirms move to close Nalufenya
The Inspector General of Police (IGP) Martin Okoth Ochola (Centre) at the Defence Committee of Parliament

Police’s Special Investigations Centre in Nalufenya, Jinja will be closed as soon as police finalizes the legal path for the action, the Inspector General of Police Martin Okoth Ochola has told the Defence Committee of Parliament.

The affirmation came after Butambala County MP Muwanga Kivumbi pressed for an explanation on the status of the detention facility, whose operations have been questioned over the distressing tales of brutality shared by persons who were detained there.

Located in Jinja district, Nalufenya was established in 1954 as a Police post. It was, however, transformed into a Special Investigations Centre of police by the former Inspector General of Police Kale Kayihura. In the recent past, all suspects, who were treated as hardcore criminals, were detained there.

It became synonymous with torture, human rights violations, inhumane and degrading treatment following glaring images of the Kamwenge town council chairperson Godfrey Byamukama who was reportedly tortured in the hands of the Uganda Police Force.

Byamukama had gaping wounds on his knees and ankles, which he said resulted from beatings by police while in detention at Nalufenya police station in Jinja. Several other suspects charged in the murder of former police commander Andrew Felix Kaweesi equally complained of being tortured while at the same facility.

Recent media reports indicated that the Police Advisory Committee (PAC) meeting chaired by IGP Okoth Ochola had made a decision to close down the facility and transfer suspects to other gazetted places in the country. Police had however dismissed this. It’s on the basis of this that Muwanga Kivumbi asked Ochola to clarify the matter so that legislators do not use the media as a basis for key decisions.

Ochola told the committee that the Police Director of Legal Services is drafting a legal document which will inform the closure of the facility.

Okoth Ochola was today appearing before the defence Committee of Parliament, alongside Ministers Jeje Odongo and Obiga Kania and his Deputy Sabiiti Muzeeyi.