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Thirty held in Uganda over ‘coup plot’: army

Uganda People’s Defense Forces (UPDF) soldiers salute/AFP-File

Uganda People’s Defense Forces (UPDF) soldiers salute/AFP-File

KAMPALA, Uganda, June 10 – At least 30 people, including serving soldiers and an opposition MP, have been detained on suspicion of plotting to overthrow Uganda’s government, the army spokesman said on Friday.

“We and the police are investigating the matter,” Colonel Paddy Ankunda told AFP, saying the group was suspected of planning an armed uprising against President Yoweri Museveni, himself a former rebel who seized power 30 years ago.

Ankunda said the detainees were “linked to a rebel group” that he declined to name.

He said most of those arrested were soldiers, adding that at least one lawmaker and another opposition politician had been arrested.

The only detainee named by the army spokesman was Michael Kabaziguruka, an MP from the main opposition Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) party whose leader Kizza Besigye is in custody facing treason charges.

Besigye, who claimed fraud after coming second to Museveni in February’s presidential election, was arrested last month for holding a mock swearing-in ceremony.

Besigye was previously charged with treason in 2005 but the case was eventually abandoned. At the time prosecutors accused him of leading a shadowy rebel group named the People’s Redemption Army, a charge Besigye always denied.

FDC spokesman Ssemujju Nganda said he had visited Kabaziguruka, the detained MP.

“He told me he was questioned on rebel links, which he didn’t know about,” said Nganda, adding that other party supporters “are under detention on the same claim”.

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Local newspaper the Daily Monitor said one of the arrested soldiers is a captain responsible for the armoury at Bombo Military Barracks, the army headquarters north of the capital Kampala.

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