It sounds like the plot of a B-class KiNigeria movie. An innocent man is hijacked from the streets of a small town, tied up with ropes, severely beaten and tortured for many hours for a minor offense.
But for Abbas Osire, a hawker in Mbale town, this is his experience. Osire has launched a campaign against the Mbale Municipal Council law enforcement authorities whom he accuses of torture.
Osire says he was arrested on Monday along Republic Street in Mbale and tortured because he didn't have an operating license. He says he was repeatedly beaten, kicked and insulted by law enforcement officers and was not allowed to defend himself.
//Cue in: iThey started hitting me #i
Cue out: i# you are killing me.i//
After the torture, Osire was taken to the municipal court where he was released. He claims that goods worth 200,000 shillings were confiscated from him during the arrest and have not been returned.
Osire has reported the case to the police and human rights organizations in Mbale.
James Kutosi, spokesperson of the Municipal Council, says the claim will be investigated and any culprits will be punished. He says law enforcement officers are charged with keeping hawkers off the streets, but do not have permission to go any further.
Abid Wambede, the LC3 chairperson of Mbale's Northern Division, says his council has launched separate investigations on allegations that law enforcement officers are stealing from the hawkers under the guise of confiscating goods sold illegally.