Uganda police stops opposition food aid distribution with tear gas, 2 injured
An attempt to distribute relief food aid on Wednesday by Ugandan firebrand opposition leader Kizza Besigye was thwarted by police who fired tear gas to disperse aid recipients leaving at least two injured.
Besigye’s Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) party drove bags of food to famine-hit Toroma County in the Katakwi District of eastern Uganda, only to be told by police that they were not consulted, local media Daily Monitor reported.
“We are not sure of the safety of food, so it’s worth examining it before given out,” East Kyoga regional police commander Francis Tumwesigye told the media after the police fired tear gas at dozens of disappointed aid recipients.
Besigye said on his Twitter page that the “visibly hungry” aid recipients were jubilant at their arrival until the police quickly changed the situation.
“Toroma & Magoro were to be recipients of relief food donated by FDC. Many people were visibly hungry. Police tear-gassed & dispersed them!,” he said, describing the action as police brutality.
“The relief food was handed over to Citizen Relief Initiative (CRI), represented by Bishop (rtd) Obaikol to store till able to distribute,” Besigye added with pictures of him visiting the injured at a nearby hospital.
The government has acknowledged in November last year that over 1.3 million Ugandans are already in need of urgent food aid as a result of starvation caused by climate change.
President Yoweri Museveni announced in December that funds budgeted for road construction will be diverted into providing food aid for those affected in the eastern region.
Dr Kizza Besigye, who came second in Uganda’s February 18, 2016 elections, has on multiple times been arrested, placed under house arrest and charged with treason twice in 2005 and 2016.
Besigye won 35 per cent of the 2016 votes and declared the polls rigged and denounced President Yoweri Museveni’s presidency.
Besigye has stood for president four times and lost each one.