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Ugandan Police arrest and charge King of Rwenzururu

Ugandan Police arrested the King of Rwenzururu following clashes with security forces.

Over the weekend, royal guards loyal to the Tribal King, Charles Wesley Mumbere clashed with the armed forces in the biggest town in the region.

A regional police spokesman said on Monday that at least 46 members of the king’s guard had died in the clashes, which also led to the loss of the lives of 16 police officers.

Security forces stormed Charles Wesley Mumbere’s palace after accusations that the king was aiding and hiding fighters. The king denies the accusations and any involvement with the militia.

Several other people were arrested in the operation and the king is now in police custody.  Authorities accuse the king and the militia of launching secessionist movement whose aims were to create a new state which would be called Yiira, this movement has been blamed for the recent attacks on security forces in the area. Police claim that they seized a cache of machetes, spears and petrol bombs from the palace.

Human rights groups have called for an independent investigation into the violent clashes after pictures emerged of bodies dumped with their hands tied behind their backs. Groups have accused Uganda of carrying out extrajudicial executions and having no respect for human life.

The government denies carrying out extrajudicial killings in the area. Questioned about the accusation. Gen Jeje Odong, Uganda’s minister for internal affairs said: “What happened is a situation of self-defence”

Upon his detention, Charles Mumbere was charged with murder. This charge is not related to the violence at the weekend but over the killing of a police officer in March

These clashes are not new. Years of clashes ended in 1982 when an agreement was enacted for more local autonomy. The kingdom was officially recognised by the government in 2009. Despite this, tensions have continued due to several issues ranging from land disputes to divisions over plans to divide up one of the seven districts in the Rwenzori region.

Between February and March of 2016, over 50 people have been killed in clashes between government forces and the rebels, according to police figures.

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