UGANDA PROTESTS: Five dead, 700 people arrested

At least five people are confirmed dead as a result of fatal gunshot wounds after a bloody day of rioting, bringing the death toll to 10 people killed since demonstrations began three weeks ago.

Kampala Metropolitan Spokesman Ibin Ssenkumbi last evening identified three of the victims as Samuel Mufumbira, a vendor at the city’s St. Balikuddembe (Owino) Market who was shot in the head, Frank Kizito, shot in Busabala and Ssemuga Kanaabi.
Another two were shot in Bwaise and Bweyogerere, Ssenkumbi said.

Uganda Red Cross Society secretary general Michael Nataka seperately confirmed the deaths of two men, in Kasubi and Najjanankumbi. Mr Nataka said the society has attended to at least 200 people, of which 139 were referred to hospital – 20 of these for bullet wounds.

A two-and-half-year-old baby girl, Patricia Namugenyi, was in critical condition at Mulago after reportedly having been shot in the stomach. Her mother Annet Nabukenya, a Namasuba resident, wailed uncontrollably as she looked on.
Mr Nataka said the bulk of yesterday’s injuries came from Kasangati, Kiwatule/Ntinda, and Najjanankumbi areas.

While the riots centered around Kampala and its suburbs, they also took place in five other towns, from Entebbe to Mbale.
About 700 people have been arrested in total – 400 in the Kampala Metropolitan area alone.

First Son Lt. Col. Kainerugaba Muhoozi, commander of the elite Special Forces Group, personally took charge in what is believed to have been the epicentre of violence, in Kisekka Market downtown.

But soldiers expelled journalists from the area, and blocked those who stayed from photographing their actions. In Jinja town, military police roughed up Saturday Monitor journalist Denis Edema, confiscated his digital camera and deleted pictures of their confrontation with protestors on Kirinya Road until UPDF Spokesman Felix Kulayigye intervened.

On receiving end
Elsewhere, photographers whom some security operatives accused of taking only “bad pictures” found themselves on the receiving end of police beatings.
Ambulances with their sirens blaring were heard across the city throughout the day – continuously delivering the injured to hospital. Among them were two policemen with gunshot wounds and a soldier.

In Mbale, a government car was torched in a dramatic confrontation – anti-riot police momentarily fled after running out of teargas in the face of advancing protestors.
Police say they arrested 18 suspected rioters in the eastern district.
Traffic on Jinja and Gulu highways was temporarily interrupted – people arriving in affected towns fled back home as automatic weapons rang out.

Military police commandeered armoured vehicles to beat back the protestors who pelted them with stones. The heavily-guarded convoy of Chief of Defense Forces, Gen. Aronda Nyakairima, was stoned at Najjanankumbi on Entebbe Road, but Lt. Col. Kulayigye said the army commander was not in his official vehicle at the time.

“The situation required us to come in to support internal security organs to restore stability and order,” the UPDF spokesman said.Plumes of black smoke filled the city skies and suffocating teargas sent residents scampering for fresh water to wash their burning eyes. Internal Affairs Minister Kirunda Kivejinja is yet to address the press on the day’s mayhem, widely believed to have been sparked by the violent and humiliating arrest of opposition leader, Kizza Besigye on Thursday.

He did however issue a statement on the arrest, justifying police actions that saw Besigye tear-gassed directly in the face, potentially causing permanent eye damage, and brutally dragged from his car.

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