Mbarara — Three police officers sustained multiples injuries in a fiery physical exchange that involved supporters of the FDC president on one side, and police and military personnel on the other in Mbarara town on Saturday.
Canisters of the pungent tear gas were shot in the air, accompanied by ammunition as the security officials tried to disperse the crowds in the town's centre.
What is known is that Col Kizza Besigye had made a stop-over in Mbarara town en route to Kabale from Kampala where he was heading to attend the burial of the late John William Bagorogoza, a family friend.
The 56-year-old opposition leader wore a white long-sleeved shirt and a navy-blue cap.
But he was blocked by a police patrol vehicle at Agip Motel, which drew the attention of a crowd, many of whom appeared to be his supporters.
And when the curious crowd grew in numbers, the police van left and the FDC politician proceeded to Total gas station in Mbarara for a re-fill. It was far from over.
He was then intercepted between United Bank of Africa (UBA) and DFCU bank at Mbarara High Street where he was again blocked for about three hours.
Meanwhile, security personnel battled with the rowdy supporters who had taken interest in pelting stones at them.
They also smashed windscreens of oncoming vehicles and those they found parked.
Business came to a near-standstill as the air was filled with tear gas coupled with the chilling recurrent sounds of ammunition.
Cautious pedestrians ducked for cover as frightened shop owners and attendants shut down their business units.
When the situation overwhelmed the police, military back-up from Makenke army barracks was called in.
The move appeared to have worked as the biggest portion of the crowds was sent scampering for safety.
The violent twist of such an event in passing must have left surprised memories in the minds of the Mbarara people as it was the first such an exchange involving the police and Besigye in the area.
The trio police officers - Peace Twinamatsiko, and two others only identified as Kameru and Kamara - sustained injuries on the head and legs.
Sensed 'danger' ahead
When the tension had died out, Besigye was escorted by police and military trucks from Mbarara town about 15-kms towards Rugando along Mbarara-Kabale road.
He reached Ntungamo town uninterrupted, before making his way farther south to Kabale.
He later told journalists that he was first intercepted by a police road block in Masaka, Lyantonde, Biharwe and then at Agip Motel towards Mbarara town.
He said police checked his vehicle at the stand points.
"I noticed that there was danger when I met the first road block by the police at Kinoni in Masaka, saying that they had instructions to search my vehicle.
"I also got information from the nspector General of Police, Gen.Kale Kayihura, that they were monitoring my movements because they know I would violate the constitution," said the FDC leader.
Dennis Anywar, the acting Mbarara district commander, who sat inside Besigye's vehicle and escorted him to Ndeija, accused the politician of inciting violence in town.
But Besigye denied any wrong doing.
"It is the unprofessional police we have in this country that have caused all this mess because they are under instructions to appease the ruling government against opposition and citizens they are supposed to offer services," his assertion came through a steady tone.
"I want someone to come up and tell me my constitutional right in my country where I cannot enjoy peace."