A former civil military relations officer in the office of the ex-coordinator of intelligence services, Gen. David Sejusa, has said he was tortured by soldiers to implicate him in a plot to overthrow the government.
By Pascal Kwesiga
A former civil military relations officer in the office of the ex-coordinator of intelligence services, Gen. David Sejusa, has said he was tortured by soldiers from the Special Forces Command (SFC) to implicate the four-star-general in a plot to overthrow the government.
Frank Ninsiima, who was dismissed from the army with disgrace in 2009, told the General Court Martial in Makindye, that he was picked from a city restaurant around Constitutional Square by plain-clothes men and put into a waiting car with tinted windows parked on Kampala road.
Once in the car, the suspect who held the rank of a private before he was ejected from the armed forces claimed he was blindfolded and whisked away to “a safe house” around Kampala although he could not locate it.
“I cannot locate it because I was blindfolded but the men who arrested me told me they were taking me to a safe house to be killed if I didn’t pin Gen. Sejusa,” he added.
Ninsiima, Sejusa’s adies, Lance Corporals Grace Nasasira and Geoffrey Karuhanga, Abel Twinamasiko ( former soldier), James Nayebare and Moses Nuwagaba have been undergoing trial since 2013 over treachery, aiding and abetting treason.
They are alleged to have participated in recruiting soldiers from SFC reportedly on Sejusa’s instructions to remove President Yoweri Museveni from power.
Sejusa fled the country in April 2014 after writing a report to the Director General of Internal Security Organization (ISO), Brig. Ronie Barya, calling for investigations into an alleged plot to eliminate senior army officers opposed to “a plan” by Museveni to install his son, Brig. Muhoozi Kainerugaba (SFC commander), as his successor.
He returned to Uganda from a self-imposed exile in the UK in December 2014. Sejusa has not been charged with any crime, but his former aides and associates are on trial for allegedly recruiting soldiers on his instructions, something that has baffled their lawyers. Sejusa has appealed to Museveni to drop charges against them, but the president hasn’t done so.
Ninsiima stated that he was confined in “a room that didn’t have lights, beaten and stepped on” for four days before he was produced before a panel in the same “safe house” and asked about Sejusa’s whereabouts. “I asked them how they expected me to know where the general (Sejusa) was when I was no longer a solider. They asked me if I had ever seen snakes and they threatened to show me one (snake) if I didn’t pin Sejusa,” he added.
The suspect was defending himself in a trial within a trial under examination from his lawyer David Mushabe. The trial with in a trial began after Ninsiima denied “his charge-and-caution statement” in which he admitted recruiting soldiers on instructions from Sejusa.
He claimed that the witnesses (soldiers from SFC) who have so far testified against them formed the panel before which he was produced in the “safe house”. Ninsiima also stated that his torturers told him his co-accused persons had been killed for refusing to disclose information about the coup plot before they forced him to sign a charge-and-caution statement prepared for him at gun point at the Special Investigations Unit of the police at Kireka, a Kampala suburb, in May. “I signed for my dear life because I had spent four days without eating.”
The state prosecutors will cross examine Ninsiima on his testimony on February 17.
I was tortured to pin Sejusa - suspect