Ugandan police carry out mass arrest of opposition supporters


JOHANNESBURG, July 25 – Ugandan police surrounded the Planet Hotel in Bugiri, in Eastern Uganda, on Wednesday morning and arrested about 16 supporters of Asuman Basalirwa of the opposition Jeema, or Justice Party, ahead of Friday’s municipal elections in Bugiri.

Jeema party spokesperson Hamidu Kyamundu told the media at a hastily convened press conference that the raid happened at around 2 am, taking the supporters – mostly from the capital Kampala – by surprise.

After the arrest, the reasons for which remain unclear, the group was detained at Bugiri police station, while others were reportedly transferred to Iganga police station.

However, the Daily Monitor reported that the arrests followed the ruling National Resistance Movement (NRM) party secretary general, Justine Kasule Lumumba, on Monday expressing concern over a group of people from Kampala whom she alleged were engaging in acts of lawlessness within the area.

Lumumba appealed to the police to intervene, fearing more people were at risk of being injured ahead of the July 27 elections.

Friday’s poll will see voters take to the polls to elect a mayor and MP for the newly created Bugiri municipality.

Campaigns officially end Wednesday and President Yoweri Museveni and opposition leader Dr. Kizza Besigye, from the Forum for Democratic Change, are expected in the municipality to drum up support for their respective party candidates.

– African News Agency (ANA)