Friday April 29 2011

KAMPALA PROTESTS: live updates

SHOW OF FORCE: An armoured vehicle manned by the military police patrols downtown Kampala city near Arua Park where security forces are battling demonstrators on Friday.

SHOW OF FORCE: An armoured vehicle manned by the military police patrols downtown Kampala city near Arua Park where security forces are battling demonstrators on Friday. Photo by Isaac Kasamani 

18:30 EAT: Kizza Besigye is reportedly blocked at Entebbe International Airport as he attempts to catch a flight for treatment at Nairobi Hospital.

18:12 EAT: Kampala Metropolitan Spokesman Ibin Ssenkumbi has confirmed five deaths. He identified three as Ssemuga Kanaabi, Sam Mufumbiro, a resident of Kibuli but killed at St. Balikuddembe Market, and Frank Kizito, who was shot in Busabala. Another two were shot in Bwaise and Bweyogerere, Ssenkumbi said.

17:36 EAT: The Uganda Red Cross Society has confirmed the deaths of two men, fatally shot in riots that broke out in Kasubi and Najjanankumbi. URCS secretary general Michael Nataka said the society has attended to at least 200 people, of which 139 were referred to hospital – 20 of these were bullet wounds. Nataka said the bulk of the injuries came from Kasangati, Kiwatule/Ntinda, and Najjanankumbi areas.

16:20 EAT: A growing group of more than 100 students are still rioting at the main Makerere campus, calling on their peers to join them or leave, one student tells us from inside Lumumba Hall. “The students have blocked the road and they’re burning tree branches,” said Abdu Kiyaga, a Makerere journalism student.
Kiyaga also said police constable Julius Kusingwire has arrived at the university in response to allegations from some students that officers had stolen their laptops and phones after shooting tear gas into their rooms.

15:25 EAT: A deathly quiet is settling over most of Kampala. Shops remain closed. The army, presidential guard and police are out in full force, walking the largely deserted streets. At Mulago National Referral Hospital, a pall hangs over the grounds as people try to come to terms with the violence unleashed by the security forces in which scores were shot – some at point blank range – with live ammunition. Reports of sporadic skirmishes between demonstrators and police elements in some suburbs continue coming in. Around the country, there are report that the public anger over yesterday’s violent arrest of opposition leader, Dr Kizza Besigye, is palpable.

15:10 EAT: Fred Muzaale reports that Police in Kayunga dispersed rioters who were protesting the manner in which FDC leader Kizza Besigye was arrested. There was heavy deployment of security personnel in Bukolooto Trading Centre in Kayunga, where rioters were burning tyres, blocking the Kayunga-Kampala road.
Kayunga DPC, Charles Ahimbisibwe, said the rioters took off on seeing police but said the ring leaders were being sought by police. He urged residents to maintain peace.

14:32 EAT: Daily Monitor's David Mafabi in Mbale reports that about 18 people have been arrested by Police in Mbale for protesting the arrest of Dr Kizza Besigye.

13:35 EAT: The army is patrolling the streets in Mukono town where demonstrators fought skirmishes with police this morning when they attempted to arrest area MP and opposition politician, Betty Nambooze. Our correspondent Johnson Mayamba reports that Ms Nambooze was driving through town when people began to gather around her vehicle, the police moved in and stopped her. When they tried to take her away the crowd began pelting them with stones.

13:20 EAT: Sporadic gunfire continues in the eastern city suburb of Bweyogerere where the military is still engaging demonstrators. Daily Monitor’s Paul Amoru reports that traffic has come to a standstill. No vehicles are coming in from the Jinja Highway which is the country’s main artery to the border with Kenya in eastern Uganda.

12:40 EAT: In Namasuba along Entebbe Road, our reporter, Martin Ssebuyira reports that security personnel are disarming journalists and every person holding either a still or video camera.  “You only report the bad side.  You don’t show the good things we are doing,” Mr Ssebuyira quoted a security personnel telling one of his victims.  People are being ordered to remove obstructions put on roads to block traffic but some are able to walk either in Kampala or Entebbe directions.  Some are able to recover their camera and proceed after clearing road obstructions.

12:35 EAT: Hundreds of Kampala-bound passengers are stranded in different parts of Southwestern region after it emerged that Kampala was on fire and no vehicles were moving. Many of passengers who Daily Monitor talked to said they feared for their lives since the situation was reported to be chaotic. “Bus operators have given us a condition that they can only end on the outskirts of the city. So we can’t go,” Innocent Kabagye who was travelling from Ntungamo said.

12:25 EAT: Traders have abandoned their merchandise in Wobulenzi, 30 miles north of Kampala, where the Friday market day was ruined when demonstrations broke out in the town. Shops and the town’s only bank have been closed. Our correspondent, Dan Wandera, says military police reinforcements have been brought in from Bombo Army Barracks. Soldiers along with police are trying to clear boulders from the Gulu-Kampala Highway.

12:10 EAT: Daily Monitor's Charles Mwanguhya who was in Kinawataka and Kireka reports that sections of the Jinja Road have been blocked as the military and police battle angry rioters in the trading centers of Kireka, Banda and Bweyogerere. Youth barricaded the Kinawataka road with all sorts of material they could find ranging from broken class to logs, tyres and rocks. At Nakawa business has been paralysed as is the entire stretch of road through Kyambogo.

Miliatry police has been deployed and fast running security vehicles can be seen racing to the more chaotic spots.

12:00 EAT: Makerere Protests: Makerere University students also added their weight to the spreading riots in protest over the Police’s manhandling of Opposition FDC leader, Kizza Besigye.
Students moved through some classes ordering their fellow students to discontinue the classes and move out to join the protest. Lecturers soon cancelled their sessions and the students moved out to the campus’s roads while chanting. They blocked the roads around Nsibiirwa hall. Then they started running and shouting with branches, especially around the Main Library area and near the Senate building. And then the police came in with the tear gas trucks. Then they started shooting tear gas canisters in the air to disperse the rowdy students who started running up and down in confusion as they could not get out of the campus and many are not on-campus residents. The Police was later reinforced by Military Police, who descended on any rioting students they could meet with batons. A journalist was also caught in the melee and roughed up by some students and was beaten.

11:50 EAT: The military and police are firing live ammunition and tear gas as they engage demonstrators in the eastern Uganda town of Mbale, more than 300 kiloemetres away from Kampala City. Shops have been locked, demonstrators are fighting back with stones, bonfires have been lit in some streets. Our bureau chief, David Mafabi, reports that the demonstrations started when civilians angered by what they say was the inhumane and violent manner in which opposition leader, Dr Kizza Besigye was arrested on Thursday started making themselves heard on Republic Street. When the police and army moved in, chaos erupted.

11:30 EAT: At the Law Development Centre demonstrators have taken to the surrounding streets paralysing both lectures and business. An eye witness , who is also a student at the Law Development centre says no lectures have taken place since morning. He says the situation has since cooled although there is heavy deployment of police and military in the area. “People were burning tyres and logs and roads blocked, tear gas was shot about twenty minutes ago, the place is not empty but mambas are patrolling up and down,” the eye witness said.

11:26 EAT: Sporadic clashes between security forces and demonstrators that erupted early Friday morning spread across Kampala and its suburbs and gunshots are ringing from different neighbourhoods. People coming into the city centre for work and or business are fleeing back home as police and military take over streets with armoured vehicles.

11:00 EAT: The city centre is deserted. Heavily armed units from the Special Forces Group (presidential guard) are patrolling the streets.

10:30 EAT: Residents in Kireka are trapped in their houses as gun shots are fired in the air. Our Chief Sub-Editor Don Wanyama who is on the ground said that the roads in Kireka are blocked and no cars are moving. This includes the Kinawataka short cut. “I walked about 300m from my house but there was a lot of gun fire I and many others had to come back to the house,” Mr Don said. Two kilometres further, Bweyogerere suburb is also in chaos. Motorists are being attacked with rioters demanding to know where there are getting the money to buy fuel.

09:10 EAT: Many residents in Kireka are trapped in their houses as gun shots are fired in the air. Daily Monitor’s Don Wanyama who resides in Kireka has failed to make it to the office. He says the roads are blocked and no cars are moving.

08:50 EAT: “I came to town to do personal business but reaching City Square, all people are running. I also took off. There is a lot of teargas. It is worse at Kiseka market,” Peter Asiimwe says panting, adding, “I don’t know what is happening and I hate this mess.”

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