KAMPALA- At least two civilians were shot, one of them in the back, as chaos erupted around the city’s central business district midmorning yesterday.
A combined military and police operation to contain former FDC president Kizza Besigye around the Kisekka Market hotbed appeared to get out of control with security personnel firing indiscriminately at crowds of unarmed and fleeing civilians.
High pressure bursts of coloured water were also unleashed from water cannon as riot police let loose, simultaneously firing canisters of teargas at will all over
the downtown scene of the action.
Downtown Kampala was soon shrouded in clouds of teargas and the sound of gunfire in scenes reminiscent of the police and security clampdown during the 2011 walk-to-work protests against rising fuel and commodity prices.
Business at the market came to a standstill as traders locked their shops and police maintained a full day’s deployment at Kisekka Market and surrounding areas.
An hour after the chaos, the Daily Monitor witnessed police washing away blood of one of shot victims from the tarmac adjoining Kyaggwe Road.
One of the victims was an unidentified pedestrian.
He bled profusely from his wounds in the back as traders first carried him into the middle of the road before he was rushed to Mulago National Referral Hospital.
The other victim was reportedly shot in the leg and also taken to Mulago.
But police spokesperson Judith Nabakooba could only confirm one person shot yesterday.
“I only know one person who was shot in the back by a rubber bullet. He is currently being taken to the theatre but we have been informed that he is able to talk. The situation is now calm and at least there have been no deaths,” Ms Nabakooba said.
Dr Kizza Besigye, the former president of Forum for Democratic Change, was arrested in Kikuubo trading area on Namirembe Road, while heading to Kisekka Market in his car.
Dr Besigye had just returned to the country on Wednesday from one of his routine trips to the US.
Before being picked up, he had been waving at traders in the busy hub hence attracting police attention.
By press time, he had been transferred from the Central Police Station in Kampala to Kira Police Station in Wakiso District.
Politicians, journalists and other members of the public were denied access to the opposition leader.
The force had deployed at his home early morning but the retired colonel somehow slipped past the cordon and drove into town with his driver and aides, Sam Mugumya and Francis Mwijukye.
His driver, Fred Kato, and Mr Mugumya were also arrested.
Kampala Central Division Police commander James Ruhweza told journalists that Lord Mayor Erias Lukwago and Dr Besigye had planned to hold a rally in Kisekka Market.
“We have information that they are planning to hold rallies in the market as well as incite violence,” Mr Ruhweza said without providing evidence.
The Kampala Metropolitan Police commander, Mr Andrew Felix Kaweesi, last week declared all political rallies by members of the outlawed For God and My Country (4GC) banned.
Dr Besigye is an associate of the group.