70-year-old arrested over stoning of Uganda president’s car

Thursday June 20 2019

Mr Omar Risasi Amabua.

Mr Omar Risasi Amabua, who was arrested on June 18, 2019 over last year's stoning of President Yoweri Museveni’s car. PHOTO | COURTESY | DAILY MONITOR 

DAILY MONITOR
By DAILY MONITOR
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A man said to be in his 70s has been arrested in Arua Town, in northern Uganda, over allegations of stoning President Yoweri Museveni’s car last year.

Police summoned Mr Omar Risasi Amabua on Tuesday to record a statement over the incident, and later took him into custody.

He was transferred to Gulu on Wednesday.

West Nile Regional Police Commander Christopher Barugahare said they have preferred treason charges against him.

“We arrested him because he was implicated in last year’s fracas where the President’s car was stoned,” Mr Barugahare said.

The car was stoned on August 13, 2018 on the last day of campaigns for Arua Municipality parliamentary by-election.

The seat fell vacant following the brutal killing, three months earlier, of MP Ibrahim Abiriga alongside his brother-cum-guard.

Abiriga was a self-confessing mascot of the ruling National Resistance Movement (NRM) party and campaigns to replace him erupted in violence on the last day after Forum for Democratic Change party’s Kassiano Wadri, who stood on an independent ticket, looked destined for a landslide victory. Wadri later won the election.

TREASON CHARGES

President Museveni was in Arua on the last day of campaigns to drum up last-minute support for NRM candidate Nusura Tiperu, who lost the vote and a subsequent election petition she filed.

The presidential motorcade ran into Wadri’s supporters who were singing and chanting pro-opposition slogans.

State House and police said a vehicle carrying the President’s luggage was pelted with stones by the opposition supporters, and Special Forces Command soldiers launched a crackdown during which they arrested 36 people, among them MPs and journalists.

Yasin Kawuma, a driver of Kyadondo East legislator Robert Kyagulanyi, aka Bobi Wine, was shot dead.

MP Wadri, Bobi Wine and his Mityana Municipality counterpart, Mr Francis Zaake, alongside 31 others, have since been charged with treason over the alleged vandalism of the President’s car.

'VICTIMISED'

“The arrest of the mzee (Amabua) is madness and total witch-hunt,” Mr Wadri said.

He added that Mr Amabua is being victimised because he was guarding the seats and podium for his the rally.

“That venue of my last rally was far from [Ediofe] road [where the presidential motorcade encountered the supporters]. Did the mzee use magic to stone Museveni’s car?” Mr Wadri asked.

Two weeks before his arrest, Mr Amabua was discharged from Arua Hospital where he had been treated for diabetes.

Relatives say he is still frail and on medication.

RPC Barugahare said their investigations into the August 13, 2018 fracas was still ongoing and detectives were likely to pick up more suspects.

Following the chaos in Arua, four top security and intelligence officers in West Nile Sub-region were replaced.

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