HRW to Government: Prosecute Security Officers Over Buganda Riot Shootings

It is believed that, security forces used live ammunition to disperse rioters leading to various deaths.
It is believed that, security forces used live ammunition to disperse rioters leading to various deaths.

Human Rights Watch has tasked Uganda Police Force to release a report of its investigations into the 2009 Buganda riots.  

The riots broke out after government blocked Kabaka Ronald Mutebi from traveling to Kayunga for the Buganda Youth day celebrations. Trouble started after police intercepted Engineer John Baptist Walusimbi, the then Katikiro of Buganda who was leading Kabaka’s advance party at Ssezibwa bridge.

Information spread fast that, the Kabaka had been blocked from traveling to Kayunga leading to violent clashes between government security and Buganda loyalists. More than 40 people were killed and another 88 injured in running battles between the police and rioters. It is believed that, security forces used live ammunition to disperse rioters leading to various deaths.

However,  todate no government operative has been arrested or punished in connection to the killings. Now, Maria Burnett, a senior Africa Researcher of HRW says the failure to investigate any case involving a soldier or police officer relating to the September 2009 events shows a serious disregard for rule of law and a government unconcerned about people’s lives.

In a 3 minutes video released by Human Rights Watch on Wednesday, a woman referred to as Mama Linda is shown narrating how her son was shot to death by security forces during the riots. She claims that the forces shot her son and have never accounted for his death by prosecuting any police officer.

According to a report by Human Rights Watch, the rights body investigated 13 separate incidents and documented several in which security forces shot live ammunition through the closed doors of peoples’ homes, killing those inside.

The report notes that, military units, some accompanied by police forces, deployed in Ndeeba on September 10 and ordered people on the roads to return home. Witnesses told Human Rights Watch that uniformed soldiers, some wearing the red berets of the military police, began to attack people with sticks and batons to clear the streets.” Reads their report.

However, Polly Namaye, the deputy Police Spokesperson says they investigated each case of the shooting and have information that can only be given out to any one if formally applied for.

She however declined to comment on whether any officers had been arraigned before courts of law over the shootings.

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