26 December 2016

Uganda: 167 Rwenzururu Royal Guards Surrender in Kasese

Photo: Enid Ninsiima /Daily Monitor
Busongora South MP Jackson Mbaju (R) speaks to journalists. He is flanked by various religious, security and local leaders in Kasese District.

Kasese — A total of 167 Rwenzururu Royal Guards have so far surrendered to security agencies in Kasese three weeks after the arrest of their King Charles Mumbere.

This follows an amnesty extended by government to royal guards suspected to have been involved in clashes with government forces since September in Kabarole and Kasese districts that culminated into the palace attack by the army.

The November 27 palace attack left about 100 people dead and the Rwenzururu King Mumbere and 130 of his guards arrested.

Out of 167 guards who surrendered, 165 came from Bukonzo West constituency while two came from Kasese Municipality, according to security officials.

"We have so far received and screened 167 Royal Guards who surrendered to security officers at sub-county level. We have profiled them after recording their statements at various police stations" Mr Agapitus Ecotu, the Rwenzori East Police Commander said on December 23 during a press conference at White House Gardens in Kasese town.

Mr Ecotu said Royal Guards who have not surrendered risk not benefit from the existing amnesty.

After the July 5, 2014 simultaneous attacks in Kasese, Ntoroko and Bundibugyo districts that left over 100 people dead several injured and over 200 arrested, the government pardoned all suspected attackers who were facing charges before the Army Court Martial while others were allowed to surrender and benefit from the government amnesty.

Mr Ecotu, however, said the amnesty is only for those who never participated in the killing of security personnel and other criminal acts in the region.

The press conference that was addressed by various religious, security and political leaders was chaired by Mr Jackson Mbaju, the Busongora South MP.

Read: My subjects were brutally massacred, says Mumbere

Mr Mbaju also chairs the Rwenzururu Kingdom Peace and Reconciliation Committee.

He told journalists that the conference was "aimed at telling the community the truth and guiding them" on how to work together so that peace can be restored in the region.

"As leaders in the district, we want the community to give us chance to exercise the mandate they gave us. I know that many politicians have talked about these issues on TVs and radio stations but this is our time to bring back sanity to our people", Mr Mbaju said.

The Bishop of South Rwenzori Diocese Rt. Rev. Thembo Jackson Nzerebende appealed to the public to desist from using divisive language in the district.

"I warn leaders who have using language that promotes and incites violence in our community. Kasese is now peaceful we need to work towards peace and unity and reconciling worrying parties", he said.

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