The whereabouts of 159 victims of what is alleged to be enforced disappearance is still unknown. These unfortunate people are among the more than 500 persons who are still unaccounted for between January 2009 and December 2018. Sixty-eight have been found dead. And since January this year, 12 people have vanished under circumstances that fit the description of enforced disappearance. Of those that have returned, most have been found to have suffered from shock and selective amnesia. They can neither remember the circumstances of their abduction or of their release, or the period in the interregnum.
This abhorrent and detestable phenomenon has continued in tandem with extrajudicial killings with extremely disconcerting regularity. Regrettably, these have seen incremental recurrences year on year over the last two decades, and very little has been done to arrest their increasing trend.
Unfortunately, the accounts of the family members of the victims in almost all cases point to the agencies as being the perpetrators. It is very difficult to believe that there are subterranean groups inside the country going about whisking away unsuspecting people from their homes or, as in some cases, from the road in broad daylight with complete impunity. And if that be so, what does it speak about the efficiency of the law enforcing agencies.
No administration can afford to view the situation with laxity or gloss over the impact these incidents have on the country’s governance and human rights profile. It is for the very credibility of the administration and its agencies that they unearth the people behind the enforced disappearance and killings. Otherwise, the popular perception regarding the real perpetrators will come to be firmly established.