The Ugandan army has spoken out on reports that the former Inspector General of Police (IGP) General Kale Kayihura has been arrested by the instituion.
According to a statement issued by the army spokesperson, Brigadier Richard Karemire, the former IGP was summoned by the Chief of Defence Forces (CDF) to the army headquarters in Mbuya.
“Yesterday, he was asked to report to the UPDF Chief of Defence Forces General David Muhoozi at General Headquarters – Mbutya. A helicopter was subsequently dispatched to transport him from there but on arrival, Gen Kale had travelled to Mbarara and so it had to return to Entebbe Airfore Base,” the statemetn issued on Wednesday reads in part.
It adds, “The Helicopter was today sent back to Kashagama and has returned safely with him on board.”
Reports of Kayihura’s alleged arrest began to circulate on Tuesday, shocking some Ugandans, who saw him as being too powerful to ever be arrested.
Gen Kayihura has been seen as one President Yoweri Museveni’s most powerful backers. He joined the president’s rebel force in the 1980s before it seized power more than 30 years ago.
He then worked his way up the army ranks, commanding operations in neighbouring Democratic Republic of Congo, until he was appointed police chief.
But according to human rights campaigners, his time in office was marred by the violent clampdown on protests and allegations of torture.
Gen Kayihura has always denied any wrongdoing and said he was simply maintaining law and order.
Before his sacking in March, General Kayihura held control over domestic security.
Several of his allies have since been arrested – including senior police officers accused of colluding with neighbouring Rwanda to kidnap one of President Paul Kagame’s former bodyguards seeking refuge in Kampala.
There has been a shake up of the police force since his removal from office.
The government is under pressure to get a handle on security in the country following several high profile killings and increased media reports of kidnappings and murders.