Winnie Kiiza wants debate on army killings in Kasese  

Winnie Kiiza

The Leader of Opposition in Parliament and Kasese Woman MP Winnie Kiiza is demanding for a debate on the defence and internal affairs committee report on the 2016 killings in Kasese.

“Something else we are going to do as we get to parliament is demand for a report by defence and internal affairs committee in respect to Kasese matters,” she said on Thursday.

Kiiza notes that because the issue of subjudice is only when there is a ruling then a matter can come before parliament and it can be discussed because in the Kasese matter there is no ruling and in fact hearing has not yet started.

“So we want it as soon as possible so we can know what the parliamentary committee found.”

In March 15, 2017, Human Rights Watch [HRW] demanded an independent investigation into Kasese killings by Ugandan military and police during joint operations in Kasese, western Uganda.

Victoria University

On the bloodiest day, scores of people, including children, were killed during a military assault on the palace compound of the region’s cultural institution.

Police spokespeople reported the death toll over the two days as 87, including 16 police.

Human Rights Watch found the actual number to be much higher – at least 55 people, including at least 14 police, killed on November 26, and more than 100, including at least 15 children, during the attack on the palace compound on November 27.

The government arrested and charged more than 180 people, including the cultural institution’s king, known as the Omusinga, with murder, treason, and terrorism, among other charges.

None of the 180 are members of the police or military and no one has been charged for the killing of the civilians, including children.

“The assault on the palace in Kasese, which killed more people than any single event since the height of the war in Northern Uganda over a decade ago, should not be swept under the carpet,” said Maria Burnett, associate Africa director at Human Rights Watch.

“People in Kasese are still looking for their family members, including children, and they deserve answers and justice for these gruesome killings.”

In a telephone interview on February 24, 2017, Uganda’s military spokesman, Brig. Richard Karemire, told Human Rights Watch that there has been no investigation into the military’s conduct and that none is planned.

The violence began on the morning of November 26 in Kasese, where there has been longstanding tension between a local cultural kingdom and the central government.

Soldiers, under the command of then-Brig. Peter Elwelu, forced their way into the kingdom’s administration offices in Kasese town.

The soldiers killed eight members of the volunteer royal guards, who traditionally safeguard cultural sites.

Many often carry agricultural tools, such as machetes, but are not formally armed by the kingdom or the government, and would not constitute an armed force or group under international humanitarian law.