Opposition Leader Kiiza Besigye shot during protest

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By David M. Barigye
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Dr.Kiiza Besigye

Kampala-Uganda’s main opposition leader, Kizza Besigye, was shot in the arm by a soldier while leading a march to protest against surging fuel prices, an official from his party said.

Police spokeswoman Judith Nabakooba said in an e-mailed statement to the media today, that officers had tried to disperse Besigye’s supporters, who had become “rowdy and started throwing stones” at the police.

Unconfirmed reports say that a fight occurred in which Besigye was injured, though police are still investigating, she said.

“Soldiers approached us from the opposite direction and started shooting randomly, We tried somehow to resist them but, they started shooting straight away,” the eye witness who did not want to indentify his identification said. Besigye was taken by ambulance for medical attention, she said.

Besigye, leader of the Forum for Democratic Change, was eight miles north of the capital, Kampala, when the incident occurred, Judith Kabanda, a regional chairwoman of the party, said in a phone interview today.

Besigye, 54, was defeated by President Yoweri Museveni in a Feb. 18 election that was rejected by four opposition candidates because of voting irregularities. Police arrested Besigye on April 11 for obstructing traffic during a similar protest march against gasoline costs, which increased 19 percent in the past month.

Earlier, police had used teargas against supporters protecting Besigye from being arrested and at a nearby health center, where some supporters had taken cover, Wavah Broadcasting Service reported.
Besigye won 26 percent of the vote in the election, while Museveni, who has been in power since 1986, was re-elected with 68.4 percent.

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