Kampala: The U.S. Treasury Department on Tuesday imposed financial sanctions on Uganda’s chief of military intelligence, Major General Abel Kandiho, over alleged human rights abuses committed under his watch.
The Treasury announced the sanctions alongside measures against Iranian and Syrian officials it said were involved in repression and undermining democracy in those countries.
The Treasury is imposing a series of sanctions this week to mark President Joe Biden’s U.S. Summit for Democracy, targeting people it sees as engaged in corruption, serious human rights abuses, and who undermine democracy.
Under Kandiho, the Treasury said in a statement, military intelligence officers have arrested, detained and physically abused Ugandans “due to their nationality, political views, or critique of the Ugandan government”.
According to US, treasury, those detained by Kandiho’s Chieftaincy of Military Intelligence were held without legal proceedings, “subjected to horrific beatings and other egregious acts” including sexual abuse and electrocutions that led to long-term injury and even death, Treasury said.
“In some cases, Kandiho was personally involved, leading interrogations of detained individuals,” it said.
The action freezes any U.S. assets of Kandiho and generally bars Americans from dealing with him.
However, UPDF condemned the sanctions saying the US did not make the necessary consultations before making the decision.
“As a country and UPDF in particular, a reputable government institution, we are disappointed such a decision could be made by a country we consider friends, a partner, and a great ally, without due process and in total disregard of the principle of fair hearing coupled with failure to make necessary consultations,” UPDF said in a statement.
Meanwhile, Abel Kandiho has retaliated to the sanctions saying he is not bothered and he has no business with the US.
” Am not bothered about the so-called sanctions. I have no business with the US, it’s political. They should just be careful not to create unnecessary enemies and losing allies”Kandiho said.
In April, the United States imposed visa bans on Ugandan government officials accused of human rights violations and repressive acts that tainted the January election.