The Ugandan government has charged 29
people with terrorism for their alleged involvement in this month's deadly riots.
The charge carries a death penalty.
The 29 are part of a larger group detained
by law enforcement officials after unrest that killed 21 people.
began after police stopped a traditional ruler of the Buganda ethnic group from
attending a youth festival.
Uganda's Minister of Security Amama Mbabazi said the charge of terrorism is justified and it is not
attacked the police station; they took guns; they shot one police constable
dead; they injured many others; they erected roadblocks on highways, burnt
vehicles; they looted shops in the streets of the city. So they caused mayhem
generally," he said.
also said charging the rioters with terrorism is in line with Ugandan laws.
law is that if you are found in possession of firearms without license that
tantamount to terrorism, and this has a history because as you know in the
recent past we had very violent people who had guns terrorizing the
population," Mbabazi said.
said he wasn't sure whether all those arrested were members of the Ugandan
am not 100 percent sure about their political affiliation. But certainly some
of them may be members of the opposition; some of them may be people who try to
take advantage of the situation to commit crime," he said.
denied that by preventing a Buganda traditional ruler from attending a youth
festival the Ugandan police might have provoked the clashes.
true that the traditional leader of Buganda in the Central region intended to visit
part of Buganda. This area is occupied by another cultural entity, and on the
basis of maintenance of law and order, the police advised the traditional
leader not to go at that time," Mbabazi said.
President Yoweri Museveni has accused opposition leaders of exploiting disputes
between traditional rulers of the Buganda ethnic group and his government for
their own interests.
said the government's action against the 29 rioters is not politically
of all, there is no problem between the Baganda and government. The only
problem has been an attempt by elements within the cultural institutions who
subscribe to opposition ideas and some of whom are members of the opposition.
They have tried to exploit that institution to arouse disaffection against
government," Mbabazi said.
said the National Resistance Movement government enjoys solid support among the
Baganda ethnic group.