Two Police Officers Injured As Besigye Launches Light A Candle Campaign

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In short
At least two police officers are reported injured as FDC leader, Dr Kizza Besigye defies police and forces his way into Kasana play ground in Nyendo, Masaka to launch the Light a Candle Campaign.

 Forum for Democratic Change leader, Dr Kizza Besigye on Wednesday defied police and forced his way into Kasana play ground in Nyendo, Masaka to launch the Light a Candle Campaign.
 
At least two police officers including the southern regional police commander, Simon Peter Wafana, were reportedly injured in the process. The second injured officer is identified as Alex Muhumuza, who until recently was the officer in charge of Masaka police station. Besigye reportedly came with hundreds of his supporters, who overpowered police officers manning the gates to the grounds.
 
Andrew Sorowen, the special police commander deployed to quell walk to work protests in Masaka, however says the injuries are minor and he is compiling a detailed report to include other female officers who were stepped on.
 
Trouble started when over 10 district police commanders from southern region districts closed down several gates leading into Kasana play ground, to restrict wrong doers from causing violence during the launch of the light to candle campaign.

The security agencies also closed several roads leading to Kasana play ground and opened just one road off Kitovu road in Nyendo, for public use ahead of Wednesday’s launch of Light a candle campaign.

Light a Candle campaign is meant to mourn all those killed in April during the walk to work riots. Nyendo was chosen because of Abigail Nalwanga, a two-year-old girl, who was shot dead during the protests.

At around 2:30pm, Besigye drove from Maria Flo Hotel in Masaka and headed to Nyendo, which is about two kilometers from the central business town. But when he reached Petro fuel station off Kitovu Cathedral Street, Besigye, who was dressed in a black shirt, jumped out of his vehicle and started walking about 500meters to Kasana play ground.  

He was later joined by leader of opposition in parliament, Nandala Mafaba, Sam Lubega, the former presidential candidate and several other opposition leaders who walked to Kasana play ground.

However, when they reached the main gate of the ground, Besigye and his group reportedly refused to be checked and instead a group of rowdy youths knocked down several police officers, to forcefully allow Besigye and his supporters enter the play ground.

Masaka DPC, Eddie Sserunjogi was among the officers who were knocked down.
Sensing trouble several police officers withdrew from the gates and abandoned checking people.
 
Godfrey Matte, the Kalangala district police commander, who was also deployed at one of the gates leading into Kasana play ground, looked on as opposition supporters took control of the gate. Earlier on, police arrested several youths who had entered Kasana play ground with suspicious objects.

Frank Ntankovu, the Masaka Criminal Investigation officer says the youths had smuggled in suspicious liquids and equipments. He says police seized the liquids and equipments from them. He revealed that police seized a consignment of t-shirts branded with “Walk to work” words, which according to police could stir violence.

 

About the author

Edward Bindhe
Bindhe prides himself on being a part of the society he writes about. He believes there is no way a journalist can understand his society unless it considers him a part of it. This is why he is dedicated to investigating the challenges of the "little person."

Bindhe says, "My work reflects the Uganda Radio Network unique approach to news." Not many Ugandan journalists would consider or even notice the re-emergence of Water Hyacinth on a lake. Bindhe does.

Truant children will attract Bindhe's attention until he gets to the bottom of their truancy: poverty and the need to work to earn bread for their families. These are the kinds of stories Bindhe is often after.

Edward Bindhe is the Masaka URN bureau chief. Rakai, Lwengo, Lyantonde, Kalangala, Mpigi, Kalungu, Bukomansimbi and Sembabule districts fall under his docket. He has been a URN staff member since 2009.

A Mass Communication graduate from Uganda Christian University, Bindhe started practising journalism in 2008 as a reporter for Radio Buddu in Masaka district.