The Ugandan security forces must not jettison human rights in their handling of the clashes in Kasese, which resulted in at least 62 deaths and hundreds of arrests over the weekend, Amnesty International said.
Police say at least 46 of the local king’s guards were killed and 139 others arrested during clashes at his palace in the western Uganda town of Kasese. The king, Charles Wesley Mumbere, was also arrested.
According to police, the clashes followed attacks by the king’s guards on multiple police stations on 26 November, killing at least 14 police officers.
“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,” said Abdullahi Halakhe, Amnesty International’s East Africa Researcher.
“In a shocking display of heavy-handedness, many people appear to have been summarily shot dead and their bodies dumped.”
Video footage broadcast by Ugandan TV stations shows the bodies of young men apparently dumped on river banks and in bushes, and men writhing in pain as they are tossed off pickup trucks with their hands tied behind their backs.
“Whatever the origin and source of the violence, the 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,” said Abdullahi Halakhe.
“The use of force during the events must be fully and transparently investigated, and those suspected of unlawful killings and other crimes such as torture must be brought to justice in fair trials without recourse to the death penalty.”
“It is imperative that the authorities ensure that detainees are not subjected to torture or other ill-treatment, and are given prompt legal representation and access to their families.”