Ugandan soldiers arrested for assault


Soldiers involved in assaulting Ugandan lawmakers and civilians over their alleged role in the stoning of a presidential convoy were arrested, the army said.

Supporters of an independent candidate contesting a parliamentary by-election threw stones at Yoweri Museveni’s motorcade on August 13 as he was leaving Arua after campaigning for a ruling party candidate.

Songwriter Robert Kyagulanyi, a lawmaker, was among dozens of people detained on suspicion of taking part in the assault. Their lawyers and others said the detainees were beaten and tortured – accusations government rejects as “rubbish”.
“We have apprehended all the soldiers involved in the incident and they have been brought to book,” army spokesman Richard Karemire said. He declined to identify them, say how many were arrested or when their cases would be heard.

In a letter to Museveni dated August 27, parliament speaker Rebecca Kadaga called for the arrest of security personnel involved in the suspected beating and torture of 33 people after their arrest over the convoy incident.
“I am concerned no effort has been made to arrest the security officers from the Special Forces Command, Military Police and Uganda Police Force involved in violent actions against unarmed civilians,” Kadaga wrote.
“This is to demand the officers concerned be apprehended at the earliest opportunity and presented in court. The Uganda parliament will not condone or acquiesce to acts of torture.”

The arrests sparked two days of anti-government protests in Kampala and other towns last week.

Protesters and opposition supporters accuse Museveni, president of the East African country since 1986, of stifling dissent through intimidation, beatings and detentions, charges which his government denies.

On Monday a Ugandan High Court granted bail to all 33 arrested over the stoning.

Presidential spokesman Don Wanyama could not confirm whether Kadaga’s letter reached Museveni but said the issues it purportedly raised were addressed. “President Museveni who was the first to condemn the violence and shooting of civilians during and after the by-election,” he said.
“He ordered the arrest of police officers who shot dead a civilian in Mityana,” Wanyama said, adding the president would respond once he received the letter.

It was the second time Kadaga wrote to Museveni demanding action over assaults on parliamentary deputies.

Last year when soldiers attached to Museveni’s office stormed parliament and beat up lawmakers during a debate on scrapping the presidential age limit, Kadaga protested to him, Ugandan media reported.