Kizza Besigye charged with murder after deadly Uganda anti-age limit protests

Friday October 20 2017

Kizza Besigye

Uganda police block opposition leader Dr Kizza Besigye's car when they intercepted on his way to Kabale town near the border with Rwanda on October 19, 2017. PHOTO | ROBERT MUHEREZA  

By REUTERS
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A leading Ugandan opposition figure was arrested and charged with murder, police said on Friday, after a deadly anti-government rally that security personnel broke up with teargas and bullets.

Kizza Besigye who has contested and lost four presidential elections against long-time leader President Yoweri Museveni, was detained on Thursday.

He and two other senior officials of his opposition Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) were held as they travelled from Rukungiri to the town of Kabale near the border with Rwanda, police spokesman Denis Namuwoza said.

In Wednesday’s rally, two people died as police fought running battles with government opponents who were assembling at the Rukungiri Stadium in southwestern Uganda to denounce a legislative plan to extend Museveni’s rule.

“He is wanted in Rukungiri on charges of attempted murder of policemen and holding unlawful assembly,” said Mr Namuwoza.

He said Mr Besigye and other FDC officials led the youth who pelted police officers with stones. He said they actions caused deaths.

President Museveni, 73, is barred by from running again by the Constitution which caps the age of a presidential candidate at 75. The next elections are due in 2021.

In power for more than three decades, Mr Museveni is backing proposed legislation to remove that age ceiling.