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News from Western

Police looks on as Political party supporters attack each other

In western Uganda political supporters of two rival camps attacked each other and police seemed to support the party by not stopping the attacks this happened in two districts on different political party rallies.

In November 2015, in Ruhama County, a fight broke out between NRM party and Go Forward Pressure group supporters shortly after their presidential candidate Hon. Amama Mbabazi arrived at the booked venue for the political rally. Police officers stood guard and protected the NRM party supporters at the Go Forward rally before the fight erupted. Also in Ntungamo town, a similar situation unfolded. Police officers stood and watched as NRM supporters were mobilized in yellow T-shirts ahead of a planned Go Forward rally in the area with an apparent intention to disrupt the rally. Many people sustained grave injuries during these fights. According to court records obtained by Chapter Four, 17 supporters of the Go Forward camp were arrested and charged. 13 of the accused were released on bail at a court in Ntungamo amidst plans by state operatives to have them re-arrested on other clearly fabricated charges. Witnesses to the Ntungamo clashes told confirmed that Police were simply onlookers and they later teamed up with the Resident District Commissioners (RDCs) District Security Officers (DISOs) to harass campaign teams. It was alleged that Police never made any attempts to quell masses or to remove the dangerous objects like sticks and stones that they were using to attack the members of the other camp. One of the people arrested after the Ntungamo clashes said he was blindfolded, put in a boot of a car, and dragged away to a safe house where he was tortured by security agents alleged that they put blocks on his balls (testes) while they were interrogating him about the people he was working with and what happened in Ntungamo. He narrated that a one ‘Kassim’ who had identified himself as a crime preventer to the other officers later stubbed him with a knife in his palm. He was then blindfolded and taken away from the safe house.