Ugandan army arrests soldiers over beating of lawmakers

28 August 2018 - 17:30 By Reuters
Protesters demonstrated against Ugandan president Yoweri Museveni outside Uganda House in London, UK, last week.
Protesters demonstrated against Ugandan president Yoweri Museveni outside Uganda House in London, UK, last week.
Image: REUTERS/Henry Nicholls

Soldiers involved in the beating of Ugandan lawmakers and civilians over their alleged role in a stoning of president Yoweri Museveni’s convoy have been arrested, the army said on Tuesday.

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

Songwriter Robert Kyagulanyi, who is also a lawmaker, was among dozens of people detained shortly afterwards on suspicion of taking part in the assault on the convoy. Their lawyers and others have said the detainees have since been beaten and tortured - accusations the government has rejected as "rubbish".

"We have apprehended all the (soldiers) who were involved in the incidents and they have been brought to book," army spokesman Richard Karemire said. He declined to identify the detained soldiers, say how many had been arrested or when their cases would be heard.

In a letter to Museveni dated August 27, parliament speaker Rebecca Kadaga had 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 that no effort has been made to arrest the security officers from the special forces command, military police and Uganda police force who were involved in the violent actions against unarmed civilians," Kadaga wrote.

"This is therefore to demand that the officers concerned be apprehended at the earliest opportunity and presented in court. The Uganda parliament will not condone or acquiesce in acts of torture."

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

Protesters and opposition supporters accuse Museveni, president 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 people arrested over the stoning.

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