(From L- R) Head of Advocacy Human Rights Network Uganda (HURINET) Patrick Tumwine, the head of Civil Society Organization (CSO) Component Freedom House Uganda Jill Kyatheheire, the Project Officer Ednne Wanyama and the finance manager Aloysius Akishure after a press conference. Photo by Shamim Saad
The Human Rights Network - Uganda (HURINET) has called for a commission of inquiry into Kasese clashes that claimed over 100 lives.
Patrick Tumwine, the head of administration at HURINET said given the copious reports on the killings in the region, it is difficult for the truth to come out unless a commission of inquiry is instituted to investigate the carnage.
“We are shocked and dismayed by the ghastly pictures of wanton mayhem and blood-letting in Kasese awash in the media since the recent hostilities in Rwenzori sub-region,” he said.
He added: “We need an independent commission of inquiry to be constituted because the situation is beyond the locals in the area.”
Tumwine noted apart from the investigations, the commission would also ensure accountability for the human rights violations witnessed since 2014.
“We call upon the Police and the Army to work towards restoring confidence among the local population by building trust through community policing and acting professionally,” he said.
Clashes between security forces and suspected Rwenzururu kingdom loyalists erupted on Saturday last week after a group of alleged royal guards of Omusinga (king) of Rwenzururu hurled an improvised grenade at Uganda People’s Defense Forces (UPDF) and Police officers.
Over 90 people, mainly civilians were killed in similar attacks by suspected Rwenzururu kingdom loyalists in Kasese, Ntoroko and Bundibugyo districts in 2014.
The UPDF and Police were patrolling Kasese town when the improvised grenade was reportedly hurled at them. The joint security forces responded with gunfire which sparked off retaliation attacks by suspected kingdom loyalists on Police Posts across the district.
Edrine Wanyama, head of legal at HURINET condemned the killings on both sides of the conflict.
“The unnecessary death and destruction of property in Kasese reminds us of our painful past and the need to avoid violence as a means of resolving disputes,” he said.
He also said they were concerned with the increasing trends of criminality and killings in the country.
“The killings; that of Kenneth Akena, Maj. Kiggundu and a series of Muslim clerics that have lost lives in the hands of unknown assailants. This is a worrying trend for the country and must be addressed as a matter of urgency,” he said.