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May 24, 2024
Kampala Daily

Prime Minister Nabanja’s Bodyguard disappears in USA

A long-serving aide to Prime Minister Robinah Nabbanja has reportedly vanished in the United States of America (USA) where he accompanied the premier on an official trip to New York.

Sources familiar with the matter said Mr Emmanuel Atwiine “likely” disappeared from a hotel in Manhattan on Tuesday night, but the entourage became aware on Wednesday when he was a no-show for breakfast.

The Ugandan delegation initially assumed Mr Atwiine had overslept. Sus- picion, however, snowballed after calls and text messages to his mobile phone number went answered.

Intercon calls to his room by the front desk too went unanswered, sparking a scare and notification of staff at Ugan- da’s Permanent Mission to the United Nations, the host of the premier’s delegation in New York.

Our investigations show that the hotel permitted the Ugandan officials, including New York-based diplomats, access to Mr Atwiine’s room where they found some of his luggage but he was not there.

Highly-placed sources said the bodyguard, who has worked with Ms Nabbanja for close to a dozen years, noti fied a delegation member to inform colleagues not [to] worry about him for he is not returning home.

In Kampala, Mr Charles Odongtho, the spokesperson for the Office of the Prime Minister, yesterday confirmed Mr Atwiine’s disappearance and said the matter had been referred for investigations by relevant authorities.

“Yes, it is true the prime minister’s bodyguard disappeared from her and this happened around 7am New York time on Wednesday,” Mr Odongtho said, adding, “It is now a matter for the police, Uganda’s embassy in New York and New York authorities”

He added: “It is they that will tell us more, and what we can do more. We got more information when we tried to follow up that he had reached Canada. That’s what I can say for now.”

Other sources, however, intimated that the guard was likely in Chicago, better known by the moniker “windy city”, where he reportedly has relatives.

Ms Nabbanja flew to New York aboard Emirates Airlines on Sunday to represent the President at the UN General Assembly’s High-Level thematic debate on debt sustainability and socio-economic equality held on Tuesday

The President of the UN General Assembly (UNGA), Mr. Dennis Francis, invited Mr Museveni for the meeting in mid-January when he flew to Kampala to attend the G77+China Summit at Speke Convention Centre, Munyonyo

President Museveni, in the speech read by PM Nabbanja, called for the elimination of the exploitative phenomena of commercial lending” if the world is to affairs counsellor, declined to discuss the matter.

“Visa records are confidential under US law; therefore, we cannot discuss the details of individual visa cases.”

A diplomat in Kampala told this newspaper on condition of anonymity that cases of confidants of top bureaucrats melting in foreign territories after flying in as part of an official delegation dents the image of the government.

Separately the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Permanent Secretary, Mr Vincent Bagiire, described the incident as unfortunate

“The ministry heard about the purported disappearance of the PM’s bodyguard in New York. Which is extremely unfortunate as it undermines the trust between the two Governments. For now, we are giving the officer the benefit of the doubt with a view that he will return,” Mr Bagiire told Daily Monitor last evening.

The disappearance of Mr Atwiine comes 19 months after Parliament Speaker Anitah Among’s chief bodyguard, a one Aggrey Aruho, went missing in California where had travelled to attend the 34th Uganda North America Association (UNAA) convention.

He had flown in September 2022 as part of an official government delegation but never returned.

By then Assistant Superintendent of Police by rank, Aruho’s trip had been shrouded in mystery Officially, he told his employer that he would not be turning up for work because he was indisposed, only for police to hear that he had vanished while overseas. It remains unclear whether his return home is still of interest to the government.

Additional reporting by Daily Monitor

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