WASHINGTON, Apr 29 – The Commonwealth Secretary General and the United States have raised concerns with Uganda over the treatment of opposition leader Kizza Besigye who was arrested on Thursday for a fourth time this month.
"We have expressed our concern about what appears to be harassment of Dr Besigye," Johnnie Carson, the assistant secretary of State for African affairs, told reporters.
The United States has "urged that the Ugandan government act both in a responsible and civil fashion in dealing with the arrests of individuals attempting to carry out peaceful protests," he said.
Carson, the top US diplomat for Africa, said he raised these concerns directly with Ugandan Foreign Minister Sam Kutesa in a telephone call on Thursday.
"I spoke to the foreign minister today and it was specifically concerning the apparent ill treatment of Dr Besigye as well as the government\’s reaction to peaceful protest by others," Carson said.
"I urged political outreach and reconciliation to resolve the differences that the government has with opposition leaders," he said.
"I also encouraged that there be scope for civil and peaceful protests and that government reaction to those protests should be tempered, responsible and civil," he added.
The Commonwealth Secretary General through the deputy communications director Manoah Esipisu said he had watched the footage of Dr Besigye\’s arrest with deep concern.
"The images of the manner in which Dr Besigye as arrested are of deep concern. We have taken this up with Ugandan authorities," Mr Kamalesh Sharma said.
Ugandan police on Thursday arrested Besigye for the fourth time this month, after smashing his car windows and teargassing him.
Besigye, who was released from a week in custody after being granted bail on Wednesday, was taken to Kasangati police station, close to his home in the Kampala suburbs, then transferred to court, where he had to be led in, his eyes covered with ointment and a handkerchief.
The opposition leader had attempted another "walk to work" demonstration to protest against rising prices, but he was blocked from walking by the police and eventually drove from his home into the city centre.
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