The death toll from last week’s violent protests in Uganda over the arrest of opposition presidential candidate, Robert Kyagulanyi better known as Bobi Wine, has risen to 45, police said on Monday.
Bobi Wine was arrested last week at a campaign rally for allegedly breaching COVID-19 protocols. After two days in detention, he was charged with flouting Coronavirus prevention restrictions and granted bail.
The Police Spokesperson, Fred Enanga, on Monday said that 39 men and six women had died, adding that the toll includes 17 people who succumbed to the injuries they sustained in the Wednesday and Thursday protests.
“It is very unfortunate that the riots have so far claimed 45 lives, which included 39 male adults and six women who fall in the age bracket of 25-40.
“A total of 42 bodies have been claimed while three remain unclaimed at the mortuary,” Enanga said.
The police spokesperson said the joint security forces continue to hunt for ring leaders who actively coordinated the protests in various parts in the east African country.
“As part of the ongoing investigations into the violent political and criminal protests, our task teams continue to track down perpetrators after the riots,” Enanga said.
“All our territorial commanders intensified efforts to identify protesters and looters mid-last week, across all flashpoint areas, using the widespread CCTV technology (both public and private), licence plate readers and facial recognition,” he said.
A local media house has quoted security sources as saying that most of the shooting was carried out by plain-clothed operatives, who were recorded by members of the public brandishing guns in the streets.
Security Minister Gen Elly Tumwiine on Friday told the media that police and other security forces have a right to shoot and kill if protesters “reach a certain level of violence”.
Police said that 11 officers had been attacked and injured by protesters.
So far, more than 550 suspects have been arrested across the country, according to the police.
Uganda’s Electoral Commission earlier this month cleared 11 presidential candidates, including incumbent President Yoweri Museveni, to run in the 2021 general elections.
The electoral body urged candidates to follow the strict COVID-19 guidelines, such as keeping the size of campaign rallies to not more than 200 people, to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus.
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