Uganda People’s Defence Forces (UPDF) soldier Sgt Ali Hassan Matovu and a civilian Erias Ssengoba have denied kidnapping and raping National Unity Platform (NUP) supporter Alexandros Marinos.
Marinos revealed to party members and journalists on Wednesday that she was kidnapped on March 30 and kept in the dungeons of Chieftaincy of Military Intelligence (CMI) for two days where she was tortured and sexually assaulted by Ssengoba and Matovu.
She said she was tortured for supporting and playing songs of NUP President, Robert Ssentamu Kyagulanyi alias Bobi Wine. Marinos displayed torture marks on different parts of her body.
Kyagulanyi later took to his Facebook and Twitter accounts praising Marinos for speaking out claiming that many NUP female supporters have been raped by security personnel but they fear coming out to share their ordeal with the public.
“Most women, unfortunately, always fear to speak about the sexual assault, and I want to salute Marinos for speaking out about this because that might be the beginning of putting an end to these crimes. In fact, most of the women who speak to us about rape, normally request us not to disclose this because of the stigma associated with it,” Kyagulanyi said.
In response to Marinos allegations, Sgt Matovu and Ssengoba accompanied by UPDF Spokesperson, Brig Felix Kulayigye, on Friday denied the accusations at a press conference held at Ministry of Defence Headquarters in Mbuya.
Sgt Hassan and Ssengoba confessed that they know Marinos. Sgt Matovu through Brig Kulayigye said the first she met Marinos was in 2020 when they searched her house in Mbuya because they suspected that her boyfriend a Local Defence Unit (LDU) deserter had abandoned the gun and uniform at her residence.
“Hassan was involved in interrogating her at Kinawataka Police Station in 2020 when she was suspected of possession of military stores. This is because her lover at the time, an LDU soldier, deserted and it was suspected he might have left some military stores or equipment in her possession,” Brig Kulayigye said.
Brig Kulayigye presented a printout showing the days when Marinos alleges to have been kidnapped, she was constantly in telephone conversations with various people which would have been impossible for a person in CMI custody.
Ssengoba in his explanation said he is a neighbor to Marinos and they have known each other for years. Ssengoba said because of their friendship, Marinos runs to him when she is financially constrained.
Brig Kulayigye claims that Marinos wants to benefit from the compensation of all torture victims which was recently ordered by President Yoweri Museveni.