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The army has apologized for imposing a night curfew in Mbale.
On Saturday, the army announced a curfew in Mbale town to foil an alleged attempt by a group of youths dissatisfied with the electoral process from burning the town.
Heavily armed soldiers moved along streets at around 4.pm warning businessmen from Mbale Central Business District to close their shops before 6.pm. and return to their homes.
The soldiers returned at 6.pm and beat up any one they could find on the streets. They also setup road blocks along all major roads leading to Mbale town to prevent travelers from gaining access to the town.
The army has made a u-turn and apologized for their action.
Deo Akiiki the Third Division Army Spokesperson says they regret the action of closing down business in Mbale through imposing temporal curfew. Akiiki however fells short of apologizing for the terror that the soldiers mated out on innocent civilians.
Akiiki says that the soldiers can only be held accountable if the people who were beaten during the curfew lodge a complaint with the army. He cast doubt on whether people were beaten during the curfew.
However several people are testifying as to having been beaten by the soldiers. One of those beaten is Daniel Edyegu a journalist with the New Vision who was flogged by the soldiers from Mbale Clock tower Roundabout as he walked back home.
Edyegu says he was confronted by the soldiers who flogged him for being in town by 7.pm a time prohibited under the curfew.
Under the law it's only the president who has the powers to declare a curfew.
But Felix Kulaigye the Army Spokesperson says the matter of whether the army has a right to declare a curfew is subject to interpretation by the attorney general.
He however justifies the temporal curfew as intended to prevent shops in Mbale town from being burnt by an alleged group of rowdy youths.
Kulayigye says individual soldiers should be held accountable for beating people not the institution in general. The usually busy streets in Mbale are still deserted at night though the curfew has been lifted.