The Inspector General of Police, Mr Martins Okoth Ochola, on Friday sent out a message reverting Nalufenya to an ordinary police station.
In an internal memo titled designation of Nalufenya, the facility, which was known as Special Forces Operations Base, has been re-designated to its former status of a police station.
“I have re-designated the Special Forces Operations Base at Nalufenya to resume the operations and functions of a police station as it was before,” Mr Ochola’s memo reads in part.
Mr Ochola ordered the police directors of logistics and engineering and human resource administration to ensure that the facility functions as a police station with immediate effect.
Nalufenya has been described by human rights bodies, politicians and former inmates as ‘hell on earth’ after several suspects detained there complained of torture.
Mr Godfrey Byamukama, the mayor of Kamwenge Town Council, is the most known victim of torture at Nalufenya. He was arrested on accusations of masterminding the killing of police spokesperson Andrew Felix Kaweesi.
He was detained at Nalufenya and later dumped at Nakasero hospital in Kampala with septic torture wounds. Asked why Nalufenya has been closed, the deputy police spokesperson Patrick Onyango said: “IGP’s communication when he was in Parliament was very clear. He said it has been causing a bad image for the police. He is closing it because it gives a bad image for the Police Force.”
The Uganda Human Rights Commission report of 2016, which assessed the state of human rights and freedoms in the country during 2015 chronicled a number of rights violations that happened at Nalufenya.
Some cases of torture at Nalufenya
The leader of the ultra-Islamic Allied Democratic Forces, perhaps the most high profile detainee in the custody, described Nalufenya while in Jinja court as slaughterhouse and pigsty.
He told court that he had been forced to consume things prohibited by his faith – pork and alcohol. Court heard his cry and he was transferred to Luzira prison.
Nakawa Division MP Michael Kabaziguruka is one of the few politicians, who has ever been detained at Nalufenya on accusation of plotting to overthrow the government. He said he was taken to Nalufenya by a Senior Superintendent of Police but suffered humiliation.
The Kamwenge mayor, Mr Godfrey Byamukama, was arrested on April 5 by police from the Ministry of Lands office on Parliament Avenue three weeks after police spokesperson Andrew Felix Kaweesi had been gunned down. He was arrested on accusations of having masterminded the Kaweesi killing. Mr Byamukama’s distressing state was exposed after his council members visited him at the hospital and witnessed the magnitude of torture that had been inflicted on him at Nalufenya detention facility.
The 48-year-old resident of Matugga, Wakiso District, was handcuffed on April 4 and was reportedly severely beaten by police. During detention at Naguru and Nalufenya police stations, Tumusiime said he was occasionally blindfolded and beaten in a room.
He was reportedly taken to May Clinic in Wandegeya after his health was deteriorating.
Ibrahim Kissa. Ibrahim Kissa alias col Ibra, 37, was taken to Naguru police headquarters where he was beaten and became unconscious. He was blindfolded and taken to Nalufenya where he would be beaten every night alongside other suspects.