Uganda: Boxer Goes Missing as Political Atmosphere Worsens

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Justin Juuko, a Ugandan boxer commonly known as ‘The Destroyer’, has been missing for more than two weeks. Juuko’s opposition party, Forum for Democratic Change (FDC), claims that the boxer is in the custody of Uganda’s security forces.

Ugandan police are yet to deny or agree with the allegations of holding Juuko.

Who is Juuko?

The 48-year-old is a decorated Ugandan boxer. Juuko’s active boxing career was between the 1990s to around 2013. Among his significant achievement is winning a gold medal for Uganda at the 1990 New Zealand Commonwealth Games.

Juuko also holds the International super featherweight title of the World Boxing Council (WBC), light welterweight title of the African Boxing Union (ABU), and super featherweight title of the North American Boxing Federation (NBF).

He has featured in a total of 58 matches, losing only 12 of them. Among his greatest matches is the 1999 contest for the WBC World Super Feather Title in Las Vegas, where he lost to Floyd Mayweather Jr.

The four-time Commonwealth super featherweight champion retired from boxing about 15 years ago to vie for Bukoto East Parliamentary seat.

The Arrest

According to FDC’s statement, Justin was arrested on 12 December alongside other party officials in Kyanzanga – Masaka, south-central Uganda. Juuko and the party officials were attending a training of party Polling Agents in Kyanzanga Town Council.

After his arrest together with Garrypaul Mayanja – an FDC activist – the duo were moved to Mbirizi police station. Subsequently, the pair disappeared at the police station.

The FDC’s statement outlines that Mbirizi Police Station can neither account for Juuko nor Mayanja. FDC further said they are unaware of the detention facility holding its arrested staff. Consequently, barring them from extending legal or medical help to Juuko and his other detained colleagues.

FDC has demanded that the Ugandan police unconditionally release Juuko and Mayanja. Also, the opposition party has called out the police for continually interfering with political parties’ activities.

Series of ‘Kidnappings’

Days after Juuko’s kidnap, Human Rights Lawyer, Nicholas Opiyo, was abducted on Tuesday while having lunch at a restaurant in Kamkwoya. However, Opiyo has been located in police custody and has been charged with money laundering.

On Sunday, FDC’s president and former presidential candidate, Kiza Besigye, reported in his Twitter handle that his aide, Hajj Asuman, had gone missing. Besigye said that 30 armed men dressed in black invaded Asuman’s home and took him.

Insecurity Heighten with Campaign Fever

On Sunday, Bobi Wine, a presidential aspirant, canceled his campaigns following the murder of one of his security details, Ssenteza Frank.

Mourning Ssenteza on his Twitter platform, Bobi says Frank was deliberately knocked dead by a military track in Busega. Bobi and Ssenteza were rushing Kasirye Ashraf to the hospital after being shot in the head. Ashraf is a reporter for Ghetto TV, an online broadcaster.

No more campaigns in Kampala.

Uganda’s election commission banned campaigns in Uganda’s capital. In a bid to combat the Covid-19 pandemic, the electoral commission has banned campaigns in cities and districts sighted by the ministry of health as having a high spread of Covid-19.

The ministry of health had earlier linked the surge in the number of coronavirus cases to the ongoing political campaigns.

The ban, effective 26 December 2020, will affect Mbarara, Kabarole, Luwero, Kasese, Masaka, Wakiso, Jinja, Kalungu, Kazo, Kampala, and Tororo.

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