11 September 2009

Uganda: Eight Killed in Kampala Riots

Photo: The Nation
Ugandans raise their hands as riots rock Kampala.

Kampala — At least 8 people have been killed in riots in Kampala's central business district, Uganda, on Thursday, as Buganda monarchists protested what they say is government mistreatment of their King, Ronald Mutebi.

Among the dead is a policeman who, according to reports, was shot near the Total petrol station in the suburb of Nsambya by rioting youth after they disarmed him.

Three civilians were killed by police in the city centre, one in the Bwaise area, and another in Nateete.

Nsambya, where the policeman is killed, is where the main Catholic-run hospital in Kampala and the US embassy are based.

Tension has been mounting in recent weeks between the central government and members of the Buganda kingdom over land rights, and a recent decision by the state to block the King from travelling to a part of his kingdom where local residents resent him.

Military Police took to the streets of Kampala, firing live ammunition to disperse Buganda pro-monarchist protesters.

President Yoweri Museveni is expected to address a press conference on the tensions later Thursday evening.

Several roads in Kampala city centre have been blocked leading to heavy traffic. Buganda Road, Said Barre and Rashid Kamis roads have been blocked by police to contain the situation.

Military police has also been deployed in the city centre.

Meanwhile, the government is yet to come out with a conclusive position on the Kabaka's visit to Kayunga.

Speaking to journalists earlier on Thursday, the minister for information Kabakumba Matsiko said the government would have a position before Saturday. She said that consultations where still going on and called for calm.

President Museveni was on Thursday scheduled to meet MPs from the Buganda region to discuss the ongoing tribal tension between the Baganda and the Banyala. The Banyala in Kayunga have violently protested the Kabaka's visit.

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