Uganda: How Police in Jinja Tracked, Arrested Besigye

Police in Jinja block former FDC President Kizza Besigye at Sunset Hotel in Jinja where he spent the night ahead of a rally at Kazimingi market, behind the Taxi Park on February 26, 2020.
26 February 2020

After engaging police in Bugiri District in running battles on Tuesday, former Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) President, Dr Kizza Besigye, was expected in Jinja on Wednesday morning to address a rally in Kazimingi market.

The market, which is usually an epicenter of riots, is located behind the Taxi Park and is perceived to harbour thousands of Dr Besigye's supporters who include petty traders dealing in maize flour and other cereals.

However, it was on Tuesday evening that police in Jinja first got whiff of Dr Besigye's presence at Paradise Hotel, an affiliate of Sunset Hotel, where he spent the night.

"Dr Besigye was here (Paradise Hotel) briefly on Tuesday evening before proceeding to Sunset Hotel; there was something unusual about him because he was driving himself," a senior employee at Paradise Hotel, who declined to be named in order to speak freely, said.

According to employees, police had clandestinely deployed at both hotels on Tuesday evening.

"Because both hotels are owned by the same management and are barely 100 metres apart, police planned to put either hotel on lockdown as soon as they were sure which hotel he had entered," said one of the amployees.

Adding: "And soon after he entered Sunset Hotel, nobody was allowed to enter or leave; in other words, there was no admission," he added.

Another Sunset employee who asked not to be named so as to speak freely said Dr Besigye's presence at the hotel 'messed up the business' as it disrupted the guests' stay on Tuesday evening and Wednesday morning.

The standoff

At around 9:30am, Dr Besigye emerged from one of the hotel corridors and muttered "good morning" before heading to his vehicle.

However, police, led by the Kiira Regional Police Commander, Mr Paul Nkore, blocked the exit using squad/patrol cars and road spikes.

While all this happened, Dr Besigye was unrelenting, forcing Police to call for a UPDF truck from Gadaffi barracks to tow away his vehicle.

However, a cat-and-mouse game ensued, with each party trying to outwit the other. Each time police positioned the UPDF truck to tow Dr Besigye's vehicle away, he reversed, making the police chain shorter.

This waiting game went on until police put spikes on the road which one of Besigye's front tyres ran over and got deflated, leading to his arrest and detention at Nalufenya Police Station.

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