Uganda ar­rests 30 over ‘coup plot’

Pakistan Observer - - PAGE 07 -

KAM­PALA—At least 30 peo­ple, in­clud­ing serv­ing sol­diers and an op­po­si­tion MP, have been de­tained on sus­pi­cion of plot­ting to over­throw Uganda’s gov­ern­ment, the army said on Fri­day.

“We and the po­lice are in­ves­ti­gat­ing the mat­ter,” army spokesman Colonel Paddy Ankunda told AFP, say­ing the group was sus­pected of plan­ning an armed up­ris­ing against Pres­i­dent Yow­eri Mu­sev­eni, him­self a for­mer rebel who seized power 30 years ago.

Ankunda said the de­tainees were “linked to a rebel group” that he de­clined to name. He said most of those ar­rested were sol­diers, adding that at least one law­maker and an­other op­po­si­tion politi­cian had been ar­rested.

The only de­tainee named by the spokesman was Michael Kabazig­u­ruka, an MP from the main op­po­si­tion Fo­rum for Demo­cratic Change (FDC) party whose leader Kizza Be­si­gye is in cus­tody on trea­son charges.

Be­si­gye, who cried foul af­ter com­ing sec­ond to Mu­sev­eni in Fe­bru­ary’s pres­i­den­tial elec­tion, was ar­rested last month for hold­ing a mock swear­ing-in cer­e­mony.

He was pre­vi­ously charged with trea­son in 2005 but the case was even­tu­ally aban­doned. At the time, prose­cu­tors ac­cused him of lead­ing a shad­owy rebel group named the Peo­ple’s Re­demp­tion Army, a charge Be­si­gye al­ways de­nied.

Party spokesman Sse­mu­jju Nganda went to visit Kabazig­u­ruka af­ter his ar­rest.

“He told me he was ques­tioned on rebel links, which he didn’t know about,” said Nganda, adding that other party sup­port­ers “are un­der detention on the same claim”.

A long-stand­ing op­po­nent of Mu­sev­eni, Be­si­gye has been fre­quently jailed, placed un­der house ar­rest, ac­cused of both trea­son and rape, tear-gassed, beaten and hos­pi­talised over the years.

Lo­cal news­pa­per the Daily Mon­i­tor said one of the ar­rested sol­diers is a cap­tain re­spon­si­ble for the ar­moury at Bombo Mil­i­tary Bar­racks, the army head­quar­ters north of the cap­i­tal Kam­pala.

It also quoted the FDC spokesman as say­ing that Kabazig­u­ruka had been grilled “about Dr Be­si­gye and Gen­eral (David) Se­jusa’s links to the same rebel group”. Se­jusa was Uganda’s for­mer spy­mas­ter.—AFP

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