Thirty seven Forum for Democratic Change leaders and councilors are being held in several police facilities in western Uganda.
Ingrid Turinawe, the secretary for mobilization is being held alongside 10 others at Ntungamo Police Station, while 12 are in Kabale. Fifteen others are holed up in the holding cells of Rukungiri Police Station. Most of those arrested on Monday following a standoff between police and FDC leaders are party councilors based in Rukungiri.
Their arrest follows plans by the party to hold thanksgiving prayers for party member Edison Kakuru who was shot and killed last year by the Police at Rukungiri Stadium.
Then, opposition supporters wanted to hold a rally against Parliament’s plan to amend the presidential age limit.
According to sources, the party had informed the police about the intended thanksgiving ceremony.
Even a meeting between FDC president Patrick Amuriat, MPs Roland Kaginda (Rukungiri Municipality), Betty Muzanira (Woman MP), Fred Turyamuhweza (Rujumbura) and district party chairperson Virginia Kyarugahe with the top security officials, including the Resident District Commissioner, the District Police Commander, the District Internal Security Officer and the Regional Police Commander at the district headquarters, yielded no fruits, with the police cordoning off the main stadium.
FDC supporters then decided to hold the thanksgiving ceremony at the party’s headquarters.
Witnesses say the police then forced their way into the party offices, hurling teargas canisters into the praying supporters. They also fired live bullets in the air to scare off the charging protesters.
Elly Maate, the Kigezi Regional Spokesman was quoted by local press as saying the operation was intended to stop an illegal assembly as the organizers had not fulfilled the requirements stipulated in the Public Order Management Act.
“So we couldn’t allow them to carry out their hidden agenda,” he said.
Some of those arrested ‘were taken to Ntungamo in a police cage’,” according to Ronald Muhinda, former FDC party president’ Kizza Besigye’s aide, before naming Sylivia Kemigisha, MacLean, Isaac Tumwesigye, Yoona Muhamya, Mark Akampa and Rodgers Turinawe Rodgers.
Those still held with Turinawe include Nicholas Atuhairwe, Kyampeire (a councillor who left behind a breast feeding baby) Gereva Kabegambire, Yoona Nsimomwe, Sonia Amumpeire Misho, Chairpeson Karangaro Ward, Emmanuel Arinda, Lauben Binura, Simon Turyamwijuka, Afia Ainembabazi and Richard Kananura.
According to Muhinda, there was no hope that they would be released since the police had blocked another party function in Mbabara.
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