Mabira Riots: 40 Indians Evacuated from Hindu Temple, Two Ugandan Men Killed

4974 Views Kampala, Uganda
A group of about 40 Indian nationals has been evacuated by police from the Hindu Temple on Burton Street in Nakasero Market to the Kampala Central Police Station. The group was rescued by police following several attacks on Indian nationals in Kampala city this morning. The attacks, in which one man of Southeast Asian descent was killed, took place during a violent demonstration against the planned give away of a large section of Mabira Forest. The rioters shouted racist abuse at all Indian-looking people, accusing them of being in cahoots with the Mehta Group of Companies to steal Uganda's natural resources. Narayan Shetty, the Managing director of SS Color Lab on Johnson Street, was one of those evacuated by the police from the temple. He said he caught wind of the planned attacks on Indian nationals early this morning and decided not to go to work, but rather to go to the temple to pray. Shetty said he and other worshipers were besieged by the rioters and had to be rescued by the police. Among the group were several women. The evacuees are now being held in safety at the Central Police Station. They have been met by the Inspector General of Police, Kale Kayihura, who has assured them that the police will ensure their safety and the safety of their businesses. The chairperson of the Uganda Indian Association, Mehta Maren, says the Mabira issue isn't an Indian issue. He says that although the Mehta Group manages the Sugar Company of Uganda (SCOUL), which is at the heart of the Mabira crisis, majority shares in the company are owned by the Government of Uganda. Maren urges members of the Indian community to stay calm and to remain in secure areas as the situation is brought under control. He urges them to remain out of the city center and to avoid using bodabodas and other forms of public transport where they can be targeted by the mobs. Meanwhile, two Ugandan men in their mid 30s have been killed in the riots. A Uganda Radio Network reporter at CPS says one of the men was shot in the head by a private security guard. It is not clear under what circumstances the man was shot. He was wearing a red shirt and a light green trouser. The second man was only dressed in a dark green trouser. The cause of his death has not yet been established. The bodies of the two men have been taken to the Mulago Hospital mortuary.