The Rwenzururu leader, His Majesty The King Omusinga charles Wisely Mumbere Irema-Ngoma has been arrested after an offensive by UPDF on the palace.
Mumbere is king of Uganda’s Bakonzo people, and some of his supporters have been calling for secession from Uganda, according to Bantariza, who said he had seen copies of money printed by the secessionist group, which is hoping to create a republic known as Yiira.
Mr Mumbere is said to have been picked from his Buhikira Royal Palace in Kasese town by Uganda People’s Defence Forces (UPDF) in a joint operation with police and airlifted to Kampala on Sunday following fresh clashes that have rocked Rwenzori region.
Mumbere has denied any role in the attacks on police posts. However, Police say they are going to charge him with inciting violence after he was asked to talk to his men and refused.
The the palace is now on fire. From a distance, fire can be seen coming out of the palace and sounds of gunshots hovering over the Palace. Wheeled army trucks are also descending onto the palace with hundreds of armed personnel patrolling the neighborhoods.
In the latest incident, at least 54 people, including 41 rebels and 13 police officers, have been killed in clashes in Uganda’s Rwenzori region, police spokesman Felix Kaweesi told reporters. Four police officials and four soldiers have been wounded, he said.
The killings are an escalation of a long-running conflict between Ugandan security forces and rebels who are believed to be loyal to a tribal king, Charles Wesley Mumbere, a critic of the country’s long-time president.
Some of the rebels had climbed high up the Rwenzori mountains and set up military camps from which they were said to run a small government, even collecting taxes from the people they control. The rebels are armed with modern weapons and improvised explosive devices, according to Bantariza.
“They had shut down life in the areas they occupied,” he said. “We shall beat those who want to cause trouble on our land.”
The police say that the attackers might have acquired weapons from Congo
One police vehicle was burnt at a police post but we managed to reorganize our resources.
“So far we have arrested 15 key ring leaders of the group leading the attacks in Kasese” says Kaweesi.