Uganda: 19 Suspected Rwenzururu Royal Guards Arrested

18 November 2019

Police in Kasese District have arrested 19 people suspected to be Rwenzururu Kingdom royal guards for allegedly recruiting youth into rebellion.

Among those arrested last week include Mr Regio Kyakunukire, who is said to be a former commander of Sikyiryamuba militia group that was accused of masterminding the attack on Muhokya Police Station in July 2012.

On July 11, 2012, unknown gunmen attacked Muhokya Police Post in Kasese District, leaving more than five people dead after Basongora installed their king, late Ivan Bwebale Rwigi IV.

Mr Kyakunukire was prosecuted and later released from jail last year after serving a five-year sentence.

Ms Eva Biira, Mr Kyakunikire's wife, claimed that her husband was arrested with their two sons and two friends from his home.

"Some army officers came home and arrested my husband. I don't deny he was a supporter of the Rwenzururu Kingdom but he has never been a royal guard as claimed by police," Mr Biira said at the weekend.

Mr Rau Muhindo, a relative of Mr Kyakunikire, said on October 28, some of their relatives were arrested for allegedly holding an illegal assembly. They were later released on police bond.

"We were, however, shocked to see that these people were re-arrested on November 5 as they came to extend their police bond. We have tried to engage police about the people who were arrested at the garage repairing their bicycles but all in vain. We are worried about their lives," Mr Muhindo said.

Mr Deyi Semie, a brother of one of the suspects, said they were engaging the Rwenzori East regional police commander, Mr Samuel Asiimwe, to ensure they are released.

"We were told to come back in the morning and stand surety for them. We shall come as a family to demonstrate against the illegal detention of our people if they are not released since police cannot tell us what offence they committed," Mr Semie said.

Mr Asiimwe denied claims that police arrested royal guards.

"We have 19 people in police cells suspected to have committed crimes. I am not able to reveal [their identities] now but they are not royal guards as you are saying," he said.

He did not reveal the crimes the suspects committed.

More than 200 loyal guards of the Rwenzururu king Charles Mumbere are facing treason, terrorism, among other charges, since November 2016 when government raided the kingdom palace in Kasese Town.

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