20 August 2018

Uganda: One Shot Dead in Bobi Wine City Protests

One person has been shot dead in Katwe during protests over the continued detention of Kyadondo East MP, Robert Kyagulanyi, popularly known as Bobi Wine.

The deceased whose identity is yet-to-be confirmed was shot dead as police officers and military personnel fired bullets and tear gas to disperse the angry crowds who were demanding for the freedom of the now jailed legislator.

The protesters who'd marched from Katwe market were intercepted at USAFI market, by the police and army, who fired live bullets, killing the protestor. Emilian Kayima, the police spokesperson confirmed the shooting of the unidentified man.

"Details are still scanty and we have not identified the victim," Kayima said.

The shooting comes a day after Sam Ssekiziyivu, a resident of Mityana was yesterday shot dead by police officers. Police has since arrested two of its own officers who allegedly fired bullets at the moving taxi. The two police officers are currently detained at Mityana police station.

Protests demanding for Bobi Wine's freedom have become a daily occurrence allover the country since the MP was arrested last week on Tuesday. Today, the demonstrators, most of them youths, began walking from Kisekka market and Kampala road heading to Constitutional Square from where they would move to Makindye military barracks. The protests soon spread to Kampala road, Nasser road, Ndeeba, Nateete and Old Kampala.

But the demonstrators were intercepted by anti-riot police personnel who used tear gas and bullets to disperse the crowds. The police officers were shortly backed up by military police personnel.

The prolonged heavy sound of gunfire and tear gas forced traders to close their shops. Susan Akite, one of the shop attendants at Mabiriizi complex, says that she was told by her boss to close their shop the moment the live bullets and tear gas were fired.

More than 30 protestors were also arrested and are currently detained at Kampala central police station. Kyagulanyi was charged in the Army court with illegal possession of firearms and ammunition. He was remanded to Makindye military barracks until August 23. Other jailed MPs include Paul Mwiru, Gerald Karuhanga and MP-elect Kassiano Wadri, former MP Mike Mabikke and 30 others.

JOURNALISTS ATTACKED

In yet another targeted attack on journalists, our own photographer Alfred Ochwo was assaulted by soldiers while on his way back to office.

"They were targeting anyone with a camera. They were asking 'why are you taking pictures of journalists?'. They arrested me and pushed under the car seats of the police truck. It was a police truck but driven by soldiers." said Ochwo.

Ochwo was arrested together with NTV's Juma Kirya and Ronald Galiwango.

"They were using magalo (pliers) to twinge us allover the body. I have bruises allover the body and feeling a lot of pain. We were unlucky that we were the first people they arrested. They put us on that police truck and thereafter they piled three more other people they had arrested on top of each of us.

Our main worry was that they were going to drive us to Makindye barracks because if they had beaten us like that in the open, what would happen inside the closed walls of a barracks? But when they drove us to the central police station, it was a sigh of relief." he added.

Jimmy Akena a photojournalist with Reuters was also beaten up while covering the protest in Kisekka market. Military personnel descended upon Akena when he was taking photographs of them firing bullets and arresting demonstrators.

He was bundled unto a police patrol vehicle and taken to CPS Kampala for detention. According to a source at CPS Kampala, Akena was ordered to hand over his laptop and phone together with wallet and his ring that could not be removed because his hand was bleeding profusely. His camera is reported to be shattered.

Akena has since been taken to the police sickbay for treatment.

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