UPDF Launches Offensive on Rwenzururu Palace Top story

5262 Views Kasese, Uganda

In short
Our reporter Emmanuel Kajubu reports that the palace is now on fire. From a distance, he can see fire 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.

 Uganda Peoples Defence Forces have launched an offensive against the Palace of Rwenzururu King Charles Wesley Mumbere following fierce fighting between government forces and royal guards.

Our reporter Emmanuel Kajubu reports that the palace is now on fire. From a distance, he can see fire coming out of the palace which is covered in sounds of heavy gunfire. Wheeled army trucks are also descending onto the Palace with hundreds of armed personnel patrolling the neighborhoods.

Rwenzururu King Charles Wesley Mumbere has been whisked out of  the Palace and  driven to Kasese  Central Police Station aboard a UPDF truck.

Earlier government issued an ultimatum for the King of Rwenzururu to disbands and disarm all royal guards by 1pm, Sunday. The demand was tabled before the Omusinga by Kasese Deputy Resident District Commissioner Justine Muhindo at the opening of talks between government and representatives of the Kingdom of Rwenzururu this morning.

Muhindo says royal guards have become problematic and their retention poses a serious security threat to the region. It is estimated that the Kingdom of Rwenzururu has more than 300 royal guards who are armed with machetes, spears and arrows. Most of them live within the community.

Muhindo said the the royal guards had to be disarmed and the whole palace searched as a starting point for the restoration of sanity in Kasese.

But URN has learnt that Mumbere rejected the demand and by 1 pm, UPDF started an operation to rid the palace of all royal guards.

The offensive follows fresh clashes between joint security forces and royal guards in Kasese district on Saturday. The clashes claimed more than 40 people, among them police officers royal guards and civilians. Deaths were recorded in the Sub Counties of Kisinga, Kagando, Maliba, Ibanda and Bwesumbu.

Most activity was at the Palace and the administrative offices of Obusinga bwa Rwenzururu, where royal guards staged a spirited fight against Police and officers of the Uganda Peoples Defence Forces- UPDF who mounted an operation against people suspected to be involved in attacks in Rwenzori region. 

The crackdown came two days after an operation in Kamabale, Kabarole district where a militia was reported to have established a training camp. The army recovered an identity card belonging to a royal guard identified only as Mbusa at the camp alongside a list of 300 trainees and their telephone contacts.

Members of the militia were reported to have climbed high up the Rwenzori Mountains and set up military camps from which they were said to run a small government. According to Deputy Government Spokesperson Shaban Bantariza, the group is in possession of improvised explosive devices.