Doctor flees over PRA rebel drugs
By P. Matsiko wa Mucoori & David Kibirige
August 31, 2003
CMI holds Mulago pharmacist
KAMPALA- One doctor at Mulago Hospital has escaped arrest while his colleague has been arrested for alleged subversion.
Sources at the hospital told Sunday Monitor yesterday that Dr. Gideon Rukundo escaped last weekend ahead of impending arrest by the Chieftaincy of Military Intelligence (CMI).
His colleague, the Principal Pharmacist at the hospital's Private Wing, Dr. Lyeni Masereka, was arrested from his office at Mulago by plain clothed CMI operatives on August 22.
The sources said the two medical officers were accused of procuring and supplying drugs to the People's Redemption Army rebels
(PRA). The Criminal Investigations Directorate (CID) boss Elizabeth Kuteesa told Sunday Monitor that Rukundo escaped.
She however confirmed that Masereka was now with the police.
"We are holding Dr. Masereka but his accomplice in smuggling drugs, Dr. Rukundo escaped. We are finalising investigations to see to it that Dr Masereka is taken (to court)," said Kuteesa.
A CMI official said that Dr Masereka is shifted between Kiira Road Police Station and the Central Police Station, Kampala.
The PRA is believed to be commanded by UPDF renegade officers Lt. Col. Samson Mande, Lt. Col. Anthony Kyakabale and Col. Edison Muzoora.
Government alleges that they have bases in eastern DR Congo. The sources said Rukundo was a Reform Agenda activist and was highly suspected, by security personnel, to be involved in subversive activities.
Government has on several occasions linked the Reform Agenda to PRA.
Reform Agenda, an opposition pressure group, is headed by exiled former presidential candidate Dr Kizza Besigye.
The group has persistently denied allegations of subversion. The hospital's Deputy Director, Dr Gideon Kikampikaho, confirmed Masereka's arrest.
"It is true Masereka was arrested. The last time, about three days ago, he was at Central Police Station. But I think he has been moved else where," he said on phone yesterday.
He said Masereka was arrested last Friday by people who identified themselves as security officers.
The security personnel reportedly told the hospital Director's Office that Masereka was wanted for interrogation.
Kikampikaho said they did not disclose the subject of the interrogation.
"What I know is that he is supposed to be on leave. I don't know anything else," he said.
Sources said when Rukundo learnt of his impending arrest, he approached a Cabinet minister for advice.
The minister reportedly rang a senior officer at CMI about the matter.
The minister then reportedly discharged Rukundo, saying matters were beyond him and that he couldn't be of much help.
Sources close to the family told Sunday Monitor that when Rukundo reached Katuna border in western Uganda, he rang the minister to tell him that he was leaving the country.
Katuna is at the Uganda - Rwanda border. Sunday Monitor was told that a dispenser at the hospital's private wing was also arrested over the same charges, but was later released after spending one or two nights in detention at CMI in Kitante.
His names were not readily established. Other hospital sources told Sunday Monitor that Rukundo was also suspected to have played a role in aiding another PRA treason suspect escape from the hospital.
Dr. Wilbrod Okungu was among 22 PRA suspects allegedly captured by the army in DR Congo's eastern province of Ituri in March.
He had been admitted to Mulago Hospital for treatment of wounds, sustained during the "fight to capture him".
He was under guard by military personnel at the hospital, but he mysteriously escaped last week.
Army Spokesman Maj. Shaban Bantariza told Sunday Monitor that the soldiers who had been guarding him had been arrested and would be prosecuted.
He said the army suspects that they conveniently made themselves absent from the place to allow Okungu escape.
The Deputy CMI boss Joseph Kamusiime was elusive when contacted. 'Why do people think it is CMI which makes every arrest. There are many security agencies,' he said.
Asked if they were looking for Dr. Rukundo he said: "Was he smuggling the drugs?" If he was not why did he run away? Can you run away when you know you are innocent?' he mused without going further.
Sunday Monitor has reliably learnt that Okungu has since fled to Europe. A relative told Sunday Monitor that Okungu had reached Europe last week. The relative declined to reveal the country where Okungu is.
When asked whether the army had knowledge of his whereabouts, Bantariza said: " I don't know, but definitely he cannot be inside Uganda. We are investigating how he escaped."
© 2003 The Monitor Publications
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