Dead policemen named as Rwenzori clashes claim 207

Thursday December 1 2016

A Uganda policeman walks past assault rifles

A Uganda policeman walks past assault rifles and other weapons found in the palace of Charles Wesley Mumbere. Odongo told the press conference 149 of Mumbere’s guards had also been arrested following the clashes. PHOTO|REUTERS 

        Kampala. Government has put a figure to the death toll of the clashes in the Rwenzori region at 207 in the last two years.

Internal Affairs minister Gen Jeje Ondong also issued a list of attacks he said the royal guards of Rwenzururu King Charles Wesley Mumbere have made on government security installations in the Rwenzori over the same period.

Gen Odong told the media yesterday that these persistent attacks against security forces was the reason the army attacked King Mumbere’s palace on Saturday to “disband and disarm” the attackers.

“The night after the attacks against security installations, the royal guards retreated to the palace with their arms. This occasioned negotiations with security forces but they refused to hand over their weapons. They were adamant. This left the security forces with no option but to disband the royal guards,” the minister said.

Gen Ondong put the death toll at 25 soldiers and police, 114 royal guards, 68 civilians and said at least 139 houses have been burnt since the 2014 clashes.

During the 2014 bloody attacks, four UPDF soldiers were killed in the attack on Kanyamwirima army barracks. The attackers also took one Rocket Propelled Grenade.

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In a separate attack in Bigando, another soldier Sgt Nabimanya Kyoojo who was on leave was hacked to death with his five children. At least 68 attackers were killed during the first clashes.

Police have suffered more casualties among security agencies. In the last one year, police have suffered 20 deaths and seven injuries while one intelligence operative was injured. Six soldiers have been injured.

Gen Odong also named 13 of the 14 policemen killed in the latest clashes that broke out on Thursday evening have claimed over 60 people.

“The UPDF and the Uganda Police have a constitutional mandate to protect all Ugandans, their life and property. Anybody who takes armed action to destabilize the security of Uganda will be dealt with in accordance with the law of the land,” he said. In last week’s operation, according to the minister, weapons were recovered from the king’s palace, including, seven Sub-Machine Guns , pistols, ammunition, machetes, spears, improvised explosive devices and 16 petrol-made bombs.

Gen Odong also gave a historical account of the current security crisis in Rwenzori, saying there has been agitation by the Rwenzuzuru kingdom to secede since 1962.

“The on-going situation in the Rwenzori region is therefore an offshoot of a long history and not the creation of the NRM government,” the minister said.(NMG)