At least 62 civilians died in deadly clashes between police and militia allied to a tribal king in Kasese, Uganda.
Regional police spokesman Mansur Suwed told Reuters they managed to kill 46 of the royal guards and arrested 139.
He said the number of police officers killed rose from 14 to 16 after two officers succumbed to their injuries. Fifty-five deaths were reported on Sunday.
The king of the Rwenzururu Kingdom, Charles Wesley Mumbere, was arrested and detained.
Mumbere supports the opposition and challenged Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni’s reelection in February.
Police accused Mumbere’s supporters of trying to create a new state near Uganda’s border with the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Ugandan police spokesman Felix Kaweesi told NBS television the police acted with restraint against Mumbere.
He said day-long negotiations between police and the king bore no fruit, as he did not comply, hence he was arrested.
“Security operatives reacted professionally, with restraint and reasonable force,” Kaweesi said.
The spokesman said a senior UPDF officer was attacked with an improvised explosive.
He said they took control of the king’s palace and seized a cache of machetes, spears and petrol bombs.
Kaweesi said they also seized a rifle, a pistol, four walkie-talkies and knives from the fighters
Ktn journalist arrested
During the scuffle, Kenya’s KTN journalist Joy Doreen Biira was arrested for posting information about the violence on her Twitter, Facebook and Instagram accounts.
Biira, herself a Ugandan, was arrested after giving an eye-witness account of the fighting between the military and the royal guards.
She was apprehended on Sunday alongside her Kenyan fiance and three friends and taken to the Central police station in Kasese.
Biira had gone to introduce her would-be-husband her family. She posted a video of the burning palace on her accounts. Kaweesi said Biira was safe.
“Police asked her about her motive for taking the pictures and why she did not abide by the law,” the police spokesman said. “They had a concern… She had to tell them what she was doing.”
Kaweesi said photography is not prohibited, but operations require procedures that Biira might have violated.
“I think she misbehaved. She might have accessed a cordoned-off area,” he said.
Kaweesi said Biirawas told not to go beyond a certain point but disobeyed, hence prompting the arrest.
Kaweesi said he told the officers to grant her police bond, as “the simple matter had been addressed.” He said Biira would have to record statements.
Kenyans on twitter react
Through hashtag #FreeJoyDoreen, Kenyans on Twitter asked the Ugandan government to release the journalist, saying she was doing her work.
The Uganda Law Society condemned the conflict, saying a commission of inquiry from both sides should be set up to investigate the cause.
“Both sides should cease fire and exercise maximum restraint to avoid further loss of life and property,” chairman Francis Gimara said in a statement yesterday.
The Society also demanded the officers release Biira and everybody involved in the abuse of human rights dealt with according to the law.