Amnesty International on Monday said Ugandan forces during the clash with royal guards in the Rwenzori region carried out extra-judicial killings.
According to police, the clashes came as a result of attacks by the king’s guards on multiple police stations over the weekend, resulting in the death of at least 14 police officers.
There were also reports that the fighting was done in a bid to create an independent state since the region had been in unrest since the disputed February elections in Uganda.
Voters in the region overwhelmingly favored President Museveni’s opponent, Kizza Besigye. Museveni was declared the winner, leaving Besigye and his supporters with no option but to reject the results.
46 of the local king’s guards were killed and 139 others arrested as security forces stormed and seized the palace. The king of the region, Charles Wesley Mumbere, was also arrested.
Amnesty International East Africa Researcher, Abdullahi Halakhe, accused security forces of using disproportionate force, saying ”many people appear to have been summarily shot dead”.
Halakhe also added:
”The full picture of the weekend’s events is yet to emerge, but there appears to be shocking examples of unlawful killings and a complete disregard for human rights during the arrests.
”Ugandan security forces must not be allowed to jettison their human rights obligations. The government must ensure that police and soldiers observe restraint and desist from extrajudicial executions.”
Uganda’s internal affairs minister, Jeje Odongo, rejected the human rights group’s claim, saying ”security forces were being attacked. They had to defend themselves, they had to protect themselves.”
”Security agencies … do not have a shoot-to-kill policy. What happened is a situation of self-defense,” said Odongo.
King Charles Wesley Mumbere, who was arrested on Sunday, was charged with murder on Tuesday. He has been transferred to prison until December 13, when he returns to court.