Uganda Peoples Congress

From MONITOR News | November 16, 2005

Besigye riots continue


13 envoys in court
Colonel has not eaten since arrest
He fears poisoning in isolated cell
Muhoozi monitors the proceedings
Roadblocks on highways
Colonel remanded in Luzira prison

AT least one rioter was shot dead yesterday and at least six others injured on the second day of protests over the arrest of opposition leader Kizza Besigye.

Police said one man identified as Isma Kakooza was shot and injured by a private security guard as he was trying to break into a shop along Dustur Street.

A statement signed by Police spokesman Assuman Mugenyi said Kakooza died at Mulago Hospital where he had been admitted.

Mugenyi said, "Police is holding 57 suspects in connection with the current riots going on in the city."

THE VICTIM: Security personnel carry a man shot during the second day of riots at Nakasero. Photo by J. Akena Police continued to clash with demonstrators as the Forum for Democratic Change leader appeared in the High Court on charges of treason and rape, a day after his arrest sparked running battles in Kampala.

Burnt-out cars and looted kiosks were still visible on the streets. Rioters burnt another two telephone kiosks yesterday.

Mugenyi said yesterday roadblocks had been mounted at all entry points to Kampala to bar people countrywide from joining the rioting in the city.

But Police dismissed reports that a curfew had been imposed in Kampala city, and encouraged people to "go on their normal business and move peacefully."

Dr Besigye, a political challenger to President Museveni in the 2001 elections, was charged with treason along with 22 other alleged rebels of the Peoples' Redemption Army. If found guilty he could face the death penalty.

Besigye has previously denied allegations that he is linked to the PRA. By 6am, yesterday, police and plain-clothed security personnel were already patrolling the city. Many streets remained deserted. Many shops on Kampala Road, William Street, Market Street, Wilson Road, Burton Streets remained closed.

By 11:30am, the situation had gotten out of control. Rioters gathered in groups and stormed the Central Police Station and Buganda Road Court where Besigye had been taken.

At 11:45am a huge crowd emerged from Burton Street near Radio One demanding Besigye's quick trial. Shouting in Luganda, the rioters chanted "Twagala Besigye, Oba tuffa tuffe"(We want Besigye, even if it means death).

At CPS, Kampala, the crowd became unruly, prompting police to shoot in the air. Soon after tear gas canisters were fired and chaos reigned in the city.

Many rioters, who attempted to vandalise shops or set petrol stations and vehicles ablaze were arrested and detained. By noon, security personnel had taken charge of the whole city.

Pedestrians were barred from passing near CPS and Buganda Road Court. A Red Cross ambulance kept ferrying the injured people to Mulago Hospital.

Demonstrators also took to the streets in Soroti and Mbale. They were dispersed by police. In Soroti, business came to a standstill for over six hours as demonstrators marched through the streets. The house of the Soroti town mayor George Michael Egunyu was vandalised. In Arua, a planned demonstration was blocked at the last minute.

In western Uganda, the army and police were deployed in all towns to quell possible riots. "Bearing in mind that the police may not effectively give the security needed, we have also deployed the army," said Chris Bakesiima, RPC southwest. The Army spokesman in Mbarara, Lt Tabaro Kiconco told journalists that security had been beefed up at all borders to counter any PRA attack.

"We know PRA exists and are likely to attack," he said.

In Ntungamo and Rukungiri towns, most shops remained closed. Police blocked a similar demonstration in Kanungu .

Additional reporting M. Opach, R. Egadu, F. Basiime, A. Tumushab, P. Baraire & T. Butagira