Crime

16 Dead, Over 300 Arrested As Expert Calls for Suspension of Physical Campaigns

At least 16 people have been killed in Kampala since riots broke out this past Wednesday following the arrest of presidential candidates Patrick Amuriat and Robert Kyagulanyi.

Kampala Metropolitan Police this Thursday released a report showing that 16 people succumbed to gun shots while 65 others including cops were injured.

In a statement released by KMP spokesperson SP Patrick Onyango, some of the deceased persons have been identified as Mwanje Saudi Male from Katwe, Juma Sendagire from Lusanja Kiteezi, a one Amase from Kubbiri and Daniel Nahnka.

The others are Saddam Mwebesa and a one  Mutaasa whose  body was picked from Wandegeya.

“The others have not yet been identified,” said Onyango.

Police fired water cannon, bullets and tear gas at brick-throwing protesters in some of the most widespread and violent clashes in more than five years.

Running battles in different parts of the country especially Jinja, Mukono, Gulu and Lira followed weeks of growing tensions between the opposition and government over the conduct of campaigns which police say will increase the spread of Coronavirus.

Onyango said the Joint security forces “professionally handled the spontaneous violent demonstrations.”

He said the violent demonstrators maliciously damaged several vehicles, looted properties, burnt tyres, blocked roads and indiscriminately threw stones at security personnel.

“The joint security team responded by firing teargas, rubber bullets, water cannons, used batons and live bullets to control the violent demonstrators,” he said.

“Intelligence agencies have been receiving credible reports that the group were planning to cause mass demonstrations in the Capital City, Kampala that shall be followed by other up country cities and towns. The demonstration yesterday and today gave credence to the intelligence agencies’ reports.”

Intelligence agencies said they picked information that the demonstrators were planning to destroy government vehicles and during the Wednesday Protests,  seven government vehicles were reportedly damaged.

During the joint operations, security agencies revealed that atleast 350 suspects have been arrested and detained in various police stations within Kampala Metropolitan Policing Area.

They are being charged with various offences that includes but not limited to participating in unlawful demonstrations, inciting violence, malicious damage to properties, assault, theft and robbery.

Their files are being worked on and they are likely to appear in court tomorrow or next week.

Police warned the youths against been lured into participating in illegal activities.

Meanwhile, Independent Elections Expert, Crispin Kaheru said incidents of violence at hand in different parts of the country points to one thing: “that as a country we have failed the test of a ‘hybrid election’ amidst Covid-19 pandemic.”

He added: “It is therefore prudent that the Electoral Commission suspends physical Campaigns with immediate effect until such a point when the body regains full control of the electoral environment.  Life is more important than elections.”

President Museveni today said the opposition groups are trying to block the upcoming elections, insisting the polls will go ahead as planned.

Kaheru said stakeholders including politicians, their supporters, security agencies, and non-state actors should remain alive to the reality that this is an election and not a war.

“They each must act responsibly. An electoral process that is not peaceful may ultimately be difficult to prove as credible,” said Kaheru.

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