Uganda: 149 alleged rebels arrested after assault on palace

  • Uganda: 149 alleged rebels arrested after assault on palace

Uganda: 149 alleged rebels arrested after assault on palace

Amnesty International denounced as "shocking" weekend clashes between security forces and royal guards in Uganda which left 62 dead, saying many victims appeared to have been executed.

Amnesty International has denounced "extrajudicial executions" in Uganda after security forces violently cracked down on members of a tribal militia in a remote southwestern area over the weekend.

The Omusinga (king) of Rwenzururu, Charles Wesley Mumbere, has been charged with murder.

Before presidential polls in February, which were won by Museveni, Mumbere came out in support of the opposition, a move that appeared to violate the traditional leaders' code of conduct.

Government spokesman Col. Shaban Bantariza said Sunday that after rebels had killed four Ugandan police officers and wounded a soldier, Ugandan forces launched an operation in which at least 15 rebel fighters have been killed. "They had to defend themselves, they had to protect themselves", Jeje Odongo, Uganda's internal minister, told a press conference in the capital, Kampala.

Ugandan authorities say the royal guards are part of a militia striving to establish an independent republic straddling Uganda and the neighboring Congo.

Amnesty International said there were shocking examples of unlawful killings and a complete disregard for human rights during the arrests, and that many victims seem to have been summarily shot dead and their bodies dumped.

Uganda's main opposition leader Kizza Besigye shared gruesome images which appeared to show dozens of bodies piled up in front of the palace gates, condemning the "massacre".

The state's Police spokesperson, Andrew Felix Kaweesi, also disclosed that the attackers were fighting to create a new republic on the border with the Democratic Republic of Congo. The king has denied any involvement.

Rights groups are urging Ugandan security forces to show restraint.

The killings on Sunday have shocked many in this East African country that has had one president since 1986.

Earlier on Monday, police said they had taken control of Mumbere's palace after the fighting and seized a cache of machetes, spears and petrol bombs.