Photo: Edward Abili
A senior army officer in the Uganda People’s Defense Forces (UPDF) was at the weekend arrested for allegedly having links with an unnamed rebel group.
Colonel Dan Opit Odwee, the airforce garrison commander, is being detained at the Makindye Military cells over subversive activities, the army confirmed yesterday.
The former 4th Division infantry operations and training officer is the most senior army officer among more than 30 soldiers, including Capt Ojara, the arms officer (head of armoury) at Bombo Military Barracks, who have so far been arrested over treason.
The army spokesperson, Lt Col Paddy Ankunda, yesterday confirmed his arrest. “He was arrested for subversion and investigations are still ongoing,” Lt Col Ankunda said.
The army publicist refused to mention the threat and the subversive activities Col Odwee was involved in but sources say he is linked to other soldiers who have already been arrested in different army units for subversion.
His son, Mr Edward Abili, yesterday posted on his Facebook page about the arrest and expressed the family’s anguish for not knowing from where his father is being held.
“Does anybody in Uganda know where Col Dan Opito Odwee is? He has been arrested by the Ugandan government and taken to a secret location. If anyone has any information, please let me know because he is my father,” Mr Abili wrote.
The Inspector General of Police, Gen Kale Kayihura, said yesterday the army officer’s arrest by the military was connected to Nakawa MP Michael Kabaziguruka’s treason case.
“There is a joint investigation that we are carrying out on information we got that some people are planning to carry out attacks on police stations, military installations and disturb the peace of the city. So I am sure that could be part of it but I am not yet updated,” Gen Kayihura when asked to comment on the matter after launching the Police Rectification programme intended to streamline operations of the Force.
“Kabaziguruka is helping police with investigations in the same matter and I am sure all the others are helping with investigations. That’s the status,” the police chief said.
Sources say the top army leadership was supposed to go for a retreat at the National Leadership Institute Kyankwanzi but it has been cancelled.
Col Odwee was arrested from his home in Katabi, Entebbe. Sources close to the family say the arresting team tied Col Odwee’s hands on his back before he was bundled into a vehicle and driven to Makindye Military Barracks in Kampala.
Some of the soldiers arrested for allegedly being part of the scheme to destabilise government are from Bombo and Air Defense in Nakasongola District, sources say.
Mr Kabaziguruka, who was arrested last week, before he was released on police bond last Thursday evening, said he was interrogated and questioned about subversive activities. He said the security agencies are linking the activities to former presidential candidate Kizza Besigye and former spy chief David Sejusa.
Dr Besigye, indicted for treason, is currently on remand at Luzira prison. The Constitutional Court in 2006 dismissed a similar charge against him, saying his trial in a court for allegedly heading the shadowy People’s Redemption Army, was unconstitutional. Dozens of his supporters incarcerated on similar offences were later granted amnesty in exchange for incriminating Dr Besigye while those that declined remained in prison, with the last PRA suspect released this year.