15 April 2011

Uganda: Opposition Leader Shot as Army Crushes Protest

FDC leader Dr Kiiza Besigye is nursing an injury on his right finger, an injury he sustained following a scuffle involving his supporters and military ... ( Resource: Besigye Injured in Protest March Unrest )

Uganda’s opposition leader Kizza Besigye was shot in the arm as soldiers moved to quell riots over rise in cost of living.

It was the second day of a walk-to-work protest to symbolise the hardship encountered by Ugandans in paying for transport costs. Uganda People’s Defence Force soldiers took over from the police to crush the demonstration.

Relatives said Dr Besigye, a former UPDF Colonel turned-arch critic of President Yoweri Museveni, was taken to Kampala Hospital in the Kololo suburb.

The violence provoked rowdy scenes in Parliament with MPs interrupting debate with war cries. They called for action to be taken against perpetrators of violence and those who are responsible for the economic hardships.

The government accused the opposition of a hate campaign to derail President Museveni’s swearing in ceremony in an attempt to hijack the peoples verdict.

A contentious government statement read by Internal Affairs Minister Kirunda Kivejinja provoked anger in parliament.

Mr Kivejinja said: “The walk to work demonstration had nothing to do with the current oil and commodity prices. … the demonstrations were part of a hate government campaign. It was for this reason therefore that police were instructed to disallow those activities.”

However, to the opposition lawmakers, the manner in which Dr Besigye and others were manhandled on Monday, his subsequent shooting in the hand Thursday was too much to bear. “Shooting Dr Besigye will not solve the problems the country is facing. You can kill Dr Besigye but you will not shoot the crisis the people are facing today,” Ms Alice Alaso said.

Other MPs were even angrier. Aruu MP Odinga Otto said: “From today, I am not going to participate in any walk to work campaign. But this country will go to war. In fact, if any opportunity ever availed itself, I will avail myself because these people (in government) can’t listen. Every day police is killing Ugandans.  You can say I am emotional because I am an Acholi, but was that student they killed in Rubanda West an Acholi? In one week, police have killed three innocent people and they wanted to finish Dr Besigye, too.”

At Kajjansi, an eastern suburb of Kampala, a woman was shot in the stomach as police battled with crowds after arresting three opposition politicians, Beatrice Atim Anywar (Kitgum woman MP) Issa Kikungwe (Kawempe North MP) and Erias Lukwago the Kampala Lord Mayor-elect.

Ms Anywar had been arrested at around 8:30am at Lweza, Kajjansi, another city suburb as she walked from her residence in Arkwright Estate, Namulanda.

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