A latest report into killings by security forces in the November 18 to 19, 2020 indicates that only eleven of out of 54 people shot dead were rioters whereas the rest 42 succumbed to “stray bullets”.
The report quoted by Daily Monitor written by the director for criminal investigations, Assistant Inspector General of Police Grace Akullo on December 5, 2020 findings also gives chilling details of how soldiers from the First Division of the Uganda People’s Defense Forces mainly were caught in the killings.
On November 29, 2020 President Museveni during a televised address said that 32 of the fatalities were rioters but the new Grace Akullo findings now contradict the President.
“Fifty-four persons died in 49 incidences of death by shooting. Of the 54 deaths, 11 victims were rioters, 42 were hit by stray bullets while one was knocked by a motor vehicle reg. no. UAW 827N that lost control after the driver was stoned by rioters along Ben Kiwanuka street in Kampala District.” Daily Monitor said quoting the report.
29 people were gunned down in Kampala eight dying at CPS Kampala, seven in Katwe, six in old Kampala, three in Kawempe, while five were shot in Wandegeya.
In Wakiso, 13 people were killed, five in Nansana, three in Kira Division, two in Entebbe, one in Wakiso, and two in Nsangi. Gift Nsubuga aged only 16, resident of Kyebando and a Senior Two student at St Henry’s College Namugongo in Wakiso District was shot dead at Maison Motel.
The protests arose after a November 18 arrest of then Presidential candidate Bobi Wine after police accused him of flouting the covid19 rules. He was arrested from a rally he had held at a playground in Luuka District.
The report says that 901 suspects were charged, 734 remanded to prison, 167 of them were released on court bail, 113 got out on police bond while police cleared and freed 21 others.
The report however says that the actions of security forces were activated by charging rioters who assaulted passers-by, damaged property and blocked and set car tyres alight on roads.
President Museveni’s take on the riots
In his November 29 address, President Museveni said that a multi-force response was deployed and according to him, 1,014 suspects were arrested, of whom 843 suspects were charged in the courts of law including Hon Kyagulanyi. 699 were remanded, 93 released on court bail, while 113 were released on police bond, including Hon Amuriat. 21 were cleared and released and 37 are still in police custody pending [arraignment in] court, including those who burnt Wobulenzi Magistrate’s Court that [and] are facing the charge of terrorism.
“Unfortunately, 54 people died in this confusion. 32 victims were rioters, some were hit by stray-bullets and two victims were knocked by vehicles … It is criminal to attack security forces by throwing stones or attempting to disarm them. In that scenario, the police will legitimately fire directly at the attackers if they fail to respond to the firing in the air … We should not have a country of rioters…The idea that Hon. Kyagulanyi, or any politician, is untouchable because he is a politician and if the police legitimately arrest him, there will be riots, is not acceptable and must never be repeated,” Museveni said.
The killings attracted diplomatic criticism from Uganda’s international partners including the European Union, the US and other human rights agencies.
After the release of the Grace Akullo report, Foreign Affairs minister Sam Kutesa shared it with diplomatic missions that are permanent members of United Nations Security Council during a meeting on April 13.
Minister Kutesa “regretted’ the November riot killings, but denied abductions by security forces mainly of the Opposition National Unity Platform (NUP) party, arguing that “anyone suspected of wrongdoing in Uganda will be arrested, and subjected to the due process of the law,” an April 13 press statement issued by the Department for Public Diplomacy of Foreign Affairs said.
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