A man said to be in his 70s has been arrested in Arua Town over allegations of stoning President Museveni’s car and smashing its hind door glass.
Police summoned Mr Omar Risasi Amabua on Tuesday, this week, ostensibly to record a statement on the incident that happened 10 months ago, but instead took him into custody.
He was transferred to Gulu yesterday and West Nile Regional Police Commander, Mr Christopher Barugahare, said they have preferred treason charge against him.
“We arrested him (Amabua) because he was implicated in last year’s fracas where the President’s car was stoned,” Mr Barugahare said, referring to the August 13, 2018 mayhem on the last day of campaigns for Arua Municipality parliamentary by-election.
The seat fell vacant following the brutal killing, three months earlier in Kawanda, Wakiso District, of then incumbent 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 Independent ticket, looked destined for a landslide victory. He later won.
President Museveni was in Arua that fateful day to drum up last-minute support for NRM candidate Nusura Tiperu, who lost the vote and election petition she filed, and the presidential motorcade ran into Wadri’s supporters, singing and chanting pro-Opposition slogans, retreated to the town centre from his final rally.
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 retributive brutal crackdown during which they arrested 36 people, among them MPs and journalists.
Yasin Kawuma, a driver to Kyadondo East legislator Robert Kyagulanyi, aka Bobi Wine, who was in Arua to boost Mr Wadri’s vote-canvassing, 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 vandalisation of the President’s car.
“The arrest of the mzee (Amabua) is madness and total witch-hunt,” Mr Wadri said yesterday.
The suspect, according to the MP, is being victimised likely because he on the fateful day guarded the seats and podium for his last rally at Arua Prisons cell.
“That venue of my last rally was far from [Ediofe] road [where the presidential motorcade encountered the supports]. Did the mzee use magic to stone Museveni’s car?” Mr Wadri added.
Our investigations show that Mr Amabua was discharged from Arua hospital only a fortnight ago where he was treated for diabetes.
Relatives said he was still frail and on medication.
RPC Barugahare said their investigations into the August 13, 2018 fracas was incomplete and detectives are likely to pick up more suspects.
Following the chaos in Arua, four top security and intelligence officers in West Nile Sub-region were fired.
Those suspended included Regional Police Commander Jonathan Musinguzi, who was replaced in acting capacity with Mr Edward Mugweri, the regional crime intelligence officer.
Others were the Regional Internal Security Officer, Mr Emmanuel Mugisha, and District Internal Security Officer Elly Tugaine.
DPC Abbas Ssenyonjo was sent packing a day after the incident and replaced by his Masaka counterpart Henry Kintu. Mr Ssenyonjo is now Masaka DPC.