9 November 2017

Uganda: Police Apologise for Tear-Gassing Besigye Supporters

Lira — Police in Lira District have apologized over the Tuesday evening incident in which they indiscriminately fired teargas canisters at supporters of former FDC presidential candidate Dr Kizza Besigye, leaving two people seriously injured.

It started when police ordered Dr Besigye's supporters to vacate Lira Mayor's gardens where they had organized a rally for the FDC presidential candidate Patrick Amuriat who is canvassing for votes in northern Uganda ahead of the party presidential elections.

However, when the crowd that eagerly waited for Dr Besigye's arrival did not take heed of police's orders, they fired teargas and bullets to disperse them.

Police on Thursday apologised to 'innocent' people in Lira town who were affected by the teargas and rowdy Tuesday atmosphere.

In a telephone call to a local radio in Lira, Mr David Ongom Mudong, the North Kyoga Regional Police spokesperson said police regretted their action which affected innocent people, including pupils and students who were returning from school plus personal businesses.

"We apologize to the innocent people who were affected by teargas that police fired around town on Tuesday. We are sorry although it was meant to avoid ugly scenes unfolding when hooligans turned us here and there," Mr Ongom said.

In an interview with journalists, Dr Besigye said police action to block him and disperse people from the planned rally was a sign of a failed government which has lost trust and credibility from its people.

"They don't even want us to talk; they shoot bullets and fire dangerous gases at us because they now fear everyone out of their 'dirty' doings," he said.

In the Tuesday's running battles, one person was shot by a stray bullet at Lira All Nations Christian Church opposite the Mayor's gardens while a boda-boda cyclist lost his motorcycle.

However police explained that stopping Dr Besigye was only intended to avoid possible violence and chaos in Lira town since he had been joined by hooligans, according to a statement by Mr Ongom.

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