Friday April 15 2011

45 injured in battle with police as pregnant woman shot in stomach

Dr Besigye (C) is dragged out of the trench.

Dr Besigye (C) is dragged out of the trench. PHOTO BY ISAAC KASAMANI 

By Monitor Team

At least 47 people injured in yesterday’ day-long opposition ‘walk-to-work’ demonstrations were by last night admitted to Mulago Hospital with those who sustained gunshot wounds, among them seven-months-pregnant Brenda Nalwendo, reported to be in grave condition.

Forum for Democratic Change party leader, Kizza Besigye, whom a combined force of military and regular police overpowered, together with his marching supporters at Kasangati trading centre, had a digit of his right hand broken after he was reportedly hit by a rubber bullet.

He was treated at Kampala Hospital in Kololo, a city suburb. “I am not worried and I am going to demand my rights whatever it takes, however long,” Dr Besigye told this newspaper when still holed up in a roadside drain in Kasangati.

The Uganda Red Cross said seven-month pregnant Ms Nalwendo who was shot in Kajjansi was in critical condition. Mulago Hospital spokesman Dan Atwijukire told Daily Monitor last evening that she was in stable condition after surgery.

“The stray bullet hit her stomach,” said Catherine Ntabadde, assistant director of communications with the Uganda Red Cross. “We rushed her to Mulago, she is in theatre – we hope the situation gets better, but she was in terrible condition.”

Police Spokesperson Judith Nabakooba said Kampala Metropolitan chief John Kato had been hospitalised after angry demonstrators clobbered him. Three other uniformed men, one of them a military officer, were reported injured.

Sporadic violence erupted in the northern Gulu town last evening and soldiers at the nearby UPDF 4th Division headquarters pulled out in armoured cars and poured onto the streets and began shooting randomly to disperse residents protesting the arrest of district chairman, Norbert Mao.

Following a futile attempt to keep Mr Mao in custody in the face of unrelenting fight by a charged crowd, police last night reportedly dropped the Democratic Party leader/former presidential candidate, off at his home within town.

Like the violence that paralysed Metropolitan Kampala, Mukono, Jinja, Buikwe, Masaka, Hoima and Mbarara towns, pro-opposition supporters in Gulu also barricaded roads and lit bonfires in running battles with police and the army that exploded teargas and let loose volleys of bullets into the night sky.

Arrested MPs
Security operatives in some instances lobbed teargas canisters in shops and homes, particularly in Kasangati, Kampala’s Bwaise neighbourhood and Jinja town, forcing out occupants whom they later clobbered or arrested.

Last night, police announced in Kampala that they had taken into custody some 220 suspected demonstrators, among them six Members of Parliament and top political party figures.

Budadiri West MP Nandala Mafabi, his Kumi Constituency counterpart Patrick Amuriat, Mukono Municipality MP-elect Betty Nambooze, Kitgum District Woman MP Beatrice Anywar, Erias Lukwago and Isa Kikungwe of Kampala Central and Kyandondo South respectively, were charged at various courts but released on bail.

Grade I magistrate James Mwondha remanded JEEMA party officials; Asuman Basalirwa and Mohammed Kibirige to Luzira Prison and are expected back at Nabweru Court later today.