Uganda: Gunmen attack remote police post, raising tensions

AP News
Posted: Jun 13, 2016 7:17 AM

KAMPALA, Uganda (AP) — Ugandan officials said they had repelled a deadly attack on a police post by gunmen in a northern district amid reports of mass arrests of soldiers accused of plotting against President Yoweri Museveni.

The military and the police repulsed the gunmen following a firefight that lasted 30 minutes, Ugandan police spokesman Fred Enanga said in a statement late Sunday.

One soldier was killed in the attack, and three soldiers and two police officials were wounded, police said Monday.

The attackers, who carried machine guns, targeted the main police station in the remote town of Gulu.

The town has since been reinforced amid "frantic efforts to track down the fleeing attackers," the statement said.

Tensions have been rising in this East African country following a disputed election in February won by Museveni, in power since 1986. His main opponent, Kizza Besigye, claimed victory and was charged with treason. Election observers said the polls were marred by irregularities.

Besigye is detained at a maximum security prison in the capital, Kampala.

The military last week arrested dozens of soldiers and officers, including a colonel with the country's air force, over links to alleged subversion. They are yet to be officially charged.

The army spokesman, Lt. Col. Paddy Ankunda, told The Associated Press on Sunday that the officers in detention have suspected links to an opposition lawmaker, Michael Kabaziguruka, who is being questioned by police over similar allegations. Kabaziguruka is a close ally of Besigye.

The treason charges pressed against Besigye, a four-time presidential challenger who once served in Museveni's government, have been criticized by some as an attempt to intimidate the opposition as Museveni's popular support wanes, especially in urban areas.