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Besigye arrested as he plans fresh protest

KAMPALA, Apr 18 – Ugandan police on Monday detained opposition leader Kizza Besigye ahead of a planned protest over spiralling food and fuel prices in Kampala which he was set to join, police and party officials said.

"Besigye was arrested as he left his house this morning and is being held in Kasangati police station on the outskirts of Kampala," Alice Alaso, secretary general of Besigye\’s Forum for Democratic Change, told AFP.

Police spokesperson Judith Nabakooba confirmed the arrest and said it was in connection with the planned demonstration.

Alaso said Besigye was leaving his home and preparing to walk to work as part of a peaceful demonstration when police "stopped him at his gate."

Besigye, 54, walked to church unobstructed on Sunday but his "walk to work" campaign saw him detained for several hours a week ago.

President Yoweri Museveni has warned he will deal firmly with any unauthorised demonstration and mocked Besigye in a press conference on Saturday.

"We made it clear to Besigye that you are not going to demonstrate or to walk. If you want to walk, go somewhere and take a walk," Museveni said.

Ugandan police on Thursday clashed with protestors in Kampala and several other towns as Besigye appeared bent on opposing the regime, two months after losing to Museveni in elections he claimed were rigged.

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Protestors say steep prices are due to bad governance but Museveni, who has ruled the east African country for a quarter of a century, insisted drought and foreign factors were to blame.

"Food prices have gone up because of unreliable rain and the bigger market in the region. Will the world prices go down because Besigye has demonstrated?" he said.

The consumer price index grew by four percent in March from the previous month and the country\’s year-on-year inflation rate stands at 11.1 percent.

Museveni argued that Besigye\’s opposition drive risked destabilising the economy further and urged Ugandans to act responsibly and use fuel sparingly.

Besigye had warned before the polls that Uganda was ripe for an Egypt-style revolt but stopped short of calling for mass street protests to challenge the results, which saw Museveni re-elected with a landslide.

The so-called Arab Spring contagion failed to take hold in Uganda after the elections.

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