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We too were targeted, says Rwenzururu prime minister

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Residents of Bundibugyo District leave camps on Tuesday to go back to their homes following the weekend clashes that left about 90 people dead. PHOTO BY RUTH KATUSABE 

By Thembo Kahungu, Felix Basiime, Ruth Katusabe, & Francis Tusiime

Posted  Thursday, July 10  2014 at  01:00

In Summary

Not aware. Noah Nzaghale says neither did the kingdom plan the attack nor does it know the motive of the attackers.

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Kasese.
Rwenzururu Kingdom has sought to distance itself from the clashes that rocked the Rwenzori region at the weekend, saying the institution was also a target.

The kingdom prime minister, Mr Noah Nzaghale, told the Daily Monitor yesterday that Omusinga (King) Charles Wesley Mumbere’s palace on Kibanzanga Road in Kasese Town, survived a planned attack on July 2.

Mr Nzaghale said at about 3am, a royal guard on duty saw someone trying to climb over the perimeter wall of the palace but fled after realising that the guards were awake.
“They were armed with guns and their motive is yet to be known,” Mr Nzaghale said.
President Museveni on Tuesday issued a statement in which he blamed the proponents of the Rwenzururu Kingdom for masterminding the tensions prior to the attacks.

“Fortunately, today Uganda has got a capable State that is able to deal decisively and expeditiously with such schemes although, of course, there was a failure of intelligence. How did these people weave such a scheme without being pre-empted?” the President asked.

Yesterday, Mr Nzaghale said a security review in the morning revealed footsteps at the fence and empty sachets of waragi (gin) outside the palace.
Subsequently, he claimed, his office wrote to the Resident District Commissioner (RDC), Maj James Mwesigye, and the District Police commander calling for thorough investigations and beefing up the security at the palace.

However, Maj Mwesigye yesterday denied ever receiving a letter from the Rwenzururu prime minister, but admitted that he had received a delegation from the kingdom led by Mr Yolamu Mulima, the minister for local administration, who told him about the attacks.

The RDC, who heads the district security committee, said he forwarded the information brought by the delegation to the security committee for investigation but a report is yet to be released.
The deadly attacks on Saturday, which have been described by the police as coordinated, rang out in Kasese and Bundibugyo districts, leaving 90 people dead. The attackers used machetes, spears and guns and raided targets, including police and military installations.

Mr Nzaghale said much as the Inspector General of Police, Gen Kale Kayihura, said at the burial of some of the victims of the attacks on Monday that he will protect the Basongora in Kasese and Bamba in Bundibugyo District, the Bakonzo and Rwenzururu Kingdom too need protection.

Mr Nzaghale said neither did the kingdom plan the attack nor does it know the motive of the attackers. He alluded that it might be a group of people involved in subversive activities.
He said the Rwenzururu king and his cabinet were studying the President’s statement and would issue a reaction after comprehending it.

Tooro denies claims
Meanwhile, Tooro Kingdom has denied allegations by some leaders and insinuations in the media that a Tooro youth pressure group, Ebitara n’Amacumu g’Omukama, are a rebel group.
The kingdom youth minister, Mr Tony Kalyegira, said in a statement yesterday that the Tooro royalists are not in any way related to the insecurity in the Rwenzori region.

“The agenda of the youth of Tooro is very clear; it’s about development programmes, demanding Tooro assets and also making youth get involved in kingdom issues,” he said.
Kabarole Deputy RDC Vincent Kamugisha had warned that the youth will be the first suspects in case of any riots.

In a related development, Kasese District chairman, Rtd Lt Col Mawa Muhindo, has said only talks will ease the tension among ethnicities in the region and bring lasting peace.

He asked the Rwenzururu king to prevail over the people who feed the youth on wrong ideology, which he related to the attacks on the military installations and police posts in Bundibugyo.
“That was a primitive venture for civilians to believe that they can overrun a whole battalion of the army with knives and spears,” Col Mawa, who commanded the Alpine Brigade that flushed NALU rebels from the Rwenzori Mountains in the 1990s, said.

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