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UPDF: We Couldn’t Massacre Mumbere Guards and Airlift Survivors to Hospital

UPDF Spokesperson Col Paddy Ankunda

The National People’s Defense Forces are still relentlessly countering the unyielding accusations that they deliberately shot dead dozens of royal guards at the palace of the Rwenzururu King Charles Wesley Mumbere on Sunday November 27.

In the latest round of self defense, diagnosis http://christiansforve.org.au/wp-includes/class-wp-image-editor.php the army insists it would be illogical for them to have moved in to “clear everything” at the palace and at the same time proceed to help those who survived the gunfire.

This has been the accusation by some politicians especially MPs from the Rwenzori region, http://chienyenthinh.com/modules/mod_users_latest/helper.php who claimed to have witnessed firsthand that the joint security organs attacked the palace with orders to finish everyone.

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One such MP Robert Franco Centenary, http://chaosoffroad.com/wp-admin/includes/ms-admin-filters.php (Kasese Municipality) who claimed to have been in the palace at the time of the attack, said he heard on the radios of some soldiers, a voice commanding them to shoot and eliminate everyone.

Another MP Godfrey Atkins Katusabe (Bukonzo West) recounted that the attack “had nothing to do with the so-called homemade bombs or any kind of resistance from the royal guards” and that there was no survivor in that palace apart from himself, the king and the prime minister.

The MP also alleges that the soldiers “butchered everybody in the palace for no reason and smuggled guns into the palace.”

Other accounts have been that the royal guards, when the UPDF and police came in pleaded for mercy but were not pardoned and that the soldiers were hurling terribly injured people in the flames of the burning huts.

The army spokesperson Col Paddy Ankunda however, in a lengthy retaliation, described these accusations as “wild.”

He elucidated, “Hon Katusabe, as he has repeatedly said was indeed engaged by the UPDF Operations Commander Brig Peter Elwelu and other senior security officials in Kasese as one of the emissaries to King Mumbere to negotiate the surrender of the royal guards as had been directed by HE the President. He went to the palace alongside the Deputy RDC Kasese Ms Irene Muhindo, the Deputy RDC Kamwenge Mr Abinadab Bwambale, the Spokesperson of OBR Clerence Bwambale, Mr Charles Kibanzanga a brother to the King and the Chairperson NGO Forum Kasese district Mr Mbahuta Reuben. The team was provided escort by the UPDF troops there.”

“The mission of the team was to urge the king to respect the presidential directive and co-operate with security to surrender the guards for demobilization. Mr. Mbahuta’s role was actually to coordinate a rehabilitation and psychosocial support programme for the guards before they could be disbanded. Security forces and other leaders were in Kasese town as early as 7:00 am on Sunday 27 November, ready to receive the guards.”

“Indeed Hon Katusabe kept informing the operation commanders about the progress and it was him who told the security actors that the talks had hit a snag and the King’s life was in danger because the guards were charged, had all stripped naked on the advice of a witch doctor who was in the palace and they wanted to harm the king. He even advised the UPDF Commander to use all possible means to access the palace and rescue the king and the Prime Minister. He is even the one who guided the troops to where the King and the Prime Minister were because he was with them in the meeting a few minutes before. This is actually the first information that came out to the public that the operation was aimed at rescuing the King and other officials who had been held hostage by the charged guards.”

According to Paddy Ankunda, the narrative that there were no survivors and that the shootings were inconsiderate “clearly defeats any logic.”

“If indeed there were no survivors, how come 149 suspects were arrested? If the commander was under instruction to “clear out everything” and ignored pleas for the surrendering guards, how come the palace is still standing to date and most property including vehicles were not destroyed?”

During the fighting at the palace, the army mouthpiece says, a UPDF senior officer and a soldier were injured by a petrol bomb, hurled at them by the guards in the palace.

Several other similar bombs, he adds, and some of the guns that had been taken by the royal guards from the slain policemen in several places the previous day were recovered from the palace during the operation and later displayed.

Ankunda went on to reveal that UPDF evacuated by air, 17 injured guards to General Military Hospital, Bombo for specialized treatment.

“These are still there and can be accessed by any interested individual. If the troops were that inhuman and threw injured people into fire, how come some of the injured were evacuated, by air to hospital? If UPDF was indeed the devil Mr Katusabe wants to project, we would have had more lives lost than those saved at the palace.”

To this point, government security operatives that took part in the Kasese Operation are yet to synchronize on the exact number of people that were killed during the attack on the palace.

On Thursday, it emerged during a parliamentary defense committee meeting that different heads of security organs gave different figures of the victims.

The army however, maintains that 46 guards were killed at the palace and that these were the ones that “resisted arrest and attempted to engage the security forces.”

Ankunda urged leaders in Kasese to talk responsibly and avoid inciting violence and warned that will initiate legal proceedings against any individual or group “that continues peddling falsehoods and tarnishing the good image of the institution for the sake of gaining cheap political capital.”

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