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Ankole’s Self-Enthroned King Arrested over Sectarianism Utterances

Police in Mbarara have arrested detained Mr. Umar Asiimwe who in 2016 enthroned himself as the King of Ankole.

Asiimwe was arrested on Thursday evening after police summoned him to the Rwizi Police Station to withdraw sectarian statements he reportedly uttered during a press conference at his palace (Itaaba) in Rwampara.

Mbarara RDC Capt. Martha Asiimwe says she was dismayed by the self-styled traditional leader, who was last week described by Gender Minister Janat Mukwaya as an impostor.

Following the interface between Minister Mukwaya and Mr. Asiimwe, the latter called a press conference and directed pointed words at the Minister and President Yoweri Museveni.

He said among others that the minister, a Muganda by tribe, was not qualified to involve herself in the affairs of Ankole.

Clips from the press conference went viral on social media platforms in the western region.

Mr Asiimwe was yesterday summoned by police and grilled for hours before he was arrested in the evening.

One of the cabinet members getting into a police car

The Rwizi regional police mouthpiece, Samson Kasasira confirmed the arrest of the self-imposed king and some of his cabinet ministers, who he said are facing charges relating to fueling sectarianism and inciting violence.

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Kasasira said police engaged Asiimwe and some of his cabinet members in a long closed-door meeting but he continued calling himself a king and refused to withdraw the statements he uttered against the minister.

“We tried to caution them but because they keep insisting that they have a kingdom which is actually not recognized, we had no option but to detain them,” he said.

He adds that the group was forced to record statements before they were transferred to Mbarara Central Police Station where they spent the night.

According to the police spokesperson, a total of seven were arrested but two of them were released on bond. One denied of being part of the group and another was of old age and seemed to be mentally ill.

Umar Asiimwe took himself to police

Those still in custody are Umar Asiimwe (king), and his ministers Max Muhumuza, Joseph Kankiriho, Wycliffe Amanya and Brenda Katushemerirwe

Asiimwe’s lawyer Vicent Turyahabwe of Ngaruye Ruhindi & Company Advocates expressed anger at the arrest of his client who he said were summoned and duly responded.

“My clients were summoned over impersonation but on reaching at the RPC’s office many other cases were read to them and at the end we were surprised to see police detaining them at the end; if someone comes by himself why then do you go ahead to arrest him? Vicent explained

“Police to me is illogical. You cannot detain someone who freely brought himself to you. That itself would amount to giving a punishment to a suspect. I think it was ruinous on the part of police officers.”

Turyahabwe vowed to formally file a complaint with the DPP’s office if his clients continue to be detained.

The police spokesperson however, revealed that the file of this case is ready and will be taken to the Regional State Attorney for advice, before the suspects can be arraigned in court.

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