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UPDF protests US sanctions against intelligence chief

The Uganda People's Defence Forces (UPDF) immediately objected to the financial sanctions the United States imposed on Major General Adel Kandiho, its intelligence chief, on 7 December.

“We are disappointed that such a decision could be made by a country we consider friendly, a partner and great ally, without due process and in total disregard of the principle of ‘fair hearing', coupled with failure to make the necessary consultations,” it said in a statement.

The US Treasury Department said Maj Gen Kandiho and other officers from the UPDF's Chieftaincy of Military Intelligence (CMI) were responsible for abusing detainees who were targeted for the nationality, political views, or opposition to the government.

“Individuals were taken into custody and held, often without legal proceedings, at CMI detention facilities where they were subjected to horrific beatings and other egregious acts by CMI officials, including sexual abuse and electrocutions, often resulting in significant long-term injury and even death,” it said.

The sanctions freeze all of Maj Gen Kandiho's US-controlled assets and bans US nationals from dealing with him.

Maj Gen Kandiho, who has served as CMI commander since January 2017, has previously been accused of human rights abuses, including by Eliot Engel, the chairman of the US House Foreign Affairs Committee, who included him on a list of seven senior Ugandan officials he asked to be sanctioned in December 2020.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken announced in April that visa restrictions were being imposed on Ugandan officials responsible for anti-democratic activities around the country's elections in January. It did not name the officials.

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