World Bulletin/News Desk
Ugandan security forces on Wednesday briefly detained three leading opposition figures after they walked out of the venue where the 51st independence anniversary celebrations were being held.
"I was detained for over an hour together with Dr. Kizza Besigye, the former president of the Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) and Ingrid Turinawe, the FDC woman leader," Kampala City Lord Mayor Erias Lukwago told Anadolu Agency in a telephone interview.
He said police and military officers arrested them after they walked out of the celebration venue in the Rukungiri district, west of the capital Kampala, to protest comments by government spokesman Ofwono Opondo.
Opondo reportedly told the crowd that Rukungiri, which is Besigye’s home town, had recommitted itself to supporting the ruling National Resistance Movement (NRM) Party of President Yoweri Museveni.
"This comment annoyed us as members of the opposition, because the event was a national celebration and not an event of the ruling party," Lukwago explained.
"We felt offended and decided to move out," he said, adding they were arrested and detained in a police van for over an hour.
"We were later taken to Besigye's home where security personnel kept us under house arrest for several hours."
Lukwago said Turinawe was taken to a police station in Ntungamo district, which is 60 kilometers away from Rukungiri.
He claimed she was beaten by the police.
When contacted for a comment, Uganda police spokeswoman Judith Nabakooba denied that the police had arrested any opposition leader.
"The police didn’t arrest the opposition leaders," she told AA on phone from the Capital Kampala.
"They only took them away from the venue in order to prevent them from disrupting the anniversary celebrations."
Uganda marked today the 51st anniversary of its independence from British colonial rulers on 9 October 1962.
The landlocked East African nation has not seen a peaceful rotation of power since independence.
It has witnessed a number of military coups and civil wars, and has been ruled by some of the world's most brutal dictators.
Museveni assumed power through a military coup in 1986 and has since provided the country with a modicum of stability.Last Mod: 09 Ekim 2013, 21:45