Uganda’s Human Rights Lawyer Nicholas Opiyo Abducted by Security

Nicholas Opiyo, one of Uganda’s distinguished human rights lawyers, was on Tuesday afternoon abducted from a restaurant by plain clothed security personnel.

Mean looking and casually dressed men surrounded Lamaro restaurant in Kamwokya, in the Central Division of Kampala and he grabbed Opiyo who was having lunch with his four other colleagues.

The security operatives suspected to have been members of Chieftaincy of Military Intelligence –CMI handcuffed Opiyo and later on turned their wrath to his colleagues who questioned and tried to defend him.

Uganda Police Force via its twitter handle confirmed that Opiyo was picked by joint security operations. Such abductions are normally conducted by CMI, Internal Security Organization- ISO and Flying Squad Unit-FSU.

“We would like to confirm the arrest of Lawyer Nicholas Opiyo, by a Joint Task team of Security and Financial Intelligence, on allegations of money laundering and related malicious acts. The investigations are progressing well and any new developments will be communicated in due course. He remains in our custody at the Special Investigations Division,” police said.

The other four lawyers abducted alongside Opiyo include Dakasi Herbert, Odur Anthony and Esomu Obure who are also members of Chapter Four a human rights organization founded and led by Opiyo. The fifth person is National Unity Platform –NUP lawyer Tenywa .

NUP is Uganda’s newest political party led by presidential candidate, Robert Ssentamu Kyagulanyi alias Bobi Wine. Kyagulanyi was one of the first people to condemn the kidnap of human rights lawyers and described the acts as intended to instill fear because Opiyo and team were gathering evidence in order to prosecute security personnel who last month killed 54 people.

“He was abducted with other human rights lawyers who are involved in investigating and collecting evidence of the murders that occurred between 18th and 19th November, 2020 by security. At this point, we suspect that their abduction is intended to frustrate the ongoing investigation of gross human rights abuses. Our legal teams have embarked on the process of establishing their whereabouts. The regime is in total panic. And yes, the empire is crumbling,” Kyagulanyi said.

Military and police killed 54 people during the November 18 and 19 protests that emanated from the arrest of Kyagulanyi from his campaign rally in Luuka district. More than 100 people were left nursing bullet wounds and some are still living in pain.