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55 killed in western Uganda clashes

Xinhua | Updated: 2016-11-28 15:11

KAMPALA - At least 55 people, including 14 police officers, were killed on Saturday in fierce fighting between security forces and a separatist militia linked to a tribal king in Western Uganda, a police spokesperson said Sunday.

Uganda police spokesman Andrew Felix Kaweesi said that 14 police officers and 41 assailants were killed in clashes between police, Ugandan military and tribal fighters in the Western Ugandan district of Kasese.

He said the tribal fighters linked to the royal guards of the king of Rwenzururu, Charles Wesley Mumbere, attacked the security forces that were on patrol in Kasese town.

"We lost 14 police officers and two soldiers injured after the militia attacked our forces that were on patrol. They threw improvised explosive devices at them," said Kaweesi.

"This is not an insurgency but rather a violent crime. We believe these attacks have a political motive," he said.

The local fighters with the support of their fellow Bakonzo in the Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) have taken up arms to agitate for the creation of the Yiira Republic, which would cover territory in Uganda and part of North Kivu in DRC.

The security forces on Sunday stormed the palace of King Mumbere and arrested him.

The king was airlifted to the capital Kampala, where he is set to meet with Uganda President Yoweri Museveni.

Authorities in Kampala have accused Mumbere's royal guards of setting up military and training camps in the Rwenzori Mountains alongside separatist militia forces to attack government installations.

The militias reportedly run a small and self-proclaimed government, even collecting taxes from the citizens they control.

President Museveni earlier this year ruled out any creation or form of secession of the Rwenzori region.

Ugandan military on Friday killed at least eight assailants belonging to rebel group Kirumiramutima in the western district of Kabarole as they were planning to attack their military base in the area.

At least 100 people including security forces were killed in February and March this year in deadly clashes between tribal attackers and security forces in the western districts of Kasese and Bundibugyo.


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