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Red Cross says 4 killed in Uganda crackdown

KAMPALA, Apr 19 – A crackdown by Ugandan security forces on opposition protests has left four people dead in the last week, the Red Cross said on Tuesday.

"Three deaths were reported in Gulu on April 14, while one death was reported in Kasangati on April 18," the Uganda Red Cross said in a statement.

Red Cross spokeswoman Catherine Ntabadde said the three victims in the northern town of Gulu had died as a result of gunshot wounds after being shot by security forces and that the one victim in Wakiso district, just outside Kampala, had collapsed and died after inhaling tear gas.

A total of 167 people have been treated for injuries by the Red Cross over the past weeks in as a combination of food price and student riots has swept across the country, Ntabadde said.

Rioting has broken out across Uganda since last Monday after the government moved to quash opposition protests over skyrocketing living costs in the country. On Thursday opposition leader Kizza Besigye said he was shot in the hand by a rubber bullet from the security forces.

Kirunda Kivejinja, the interior minister, on Tuesday denied that security forces had shot anyone and offered the government\’s sympathy for the "victims of abominable acts by some members of the opposition."

Kivejinja said that an unspecified number of security officials had been injured in the unrest and pledged to continue the government clampdown on the protests.

"We shall continue to arrest because that is our job," Kivejinja said.

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