Police and troops firing live and plastic bullets fought running battles Tuesday with protesters angered by the arrest on treason charges of the president's main political rival. Kizza Besigye appeared in court Tuesday, a day after his arrest. Elsewhere in Kampala, his supporters were ransacking businesses, burning tires and throwing stones and other objects at security forces in the central business district.
At least three ambulances were deployed to take the injured to hospital for treatment. About a dozen Red Cross workers were also on the scene.
Supporters, some shouting condemnation of President Yoweri Museveni and the proceedings, foreign diplomats and opposition politicians attended Besigye's court hearing. A district magistrate ruled that prosecutors have enough evidence to back charges of treason - which carries the death penalty, concealment of treason and rape against Uganda's main opposition leader, the AP reports.
Chief Magistrate Margareth Tiburya transferred the case to the High Court for trial, because the lower court does not have powers to try capital offenses. The magistrate also ordered Besigye remain held at the Luzira Maximum Security Prison until the High Court fixes a trial date.
Besigye, who was greeted by huge crowds when he returned from exile last month and has mounted the strongest challenge to Museveni's 19-year rule, is accused of recruiting, funding and arming rebels with the help of neighboring Rwanda, Congo and Sudan.
Besigye has denied past accusations from the government that he led the People's Redemption Army and had links with separate rebels of the Lord's Resistance Army.
The People's Redemption Army is described as a group of armed Ugandan dissidents based in the east of neighboring Congo. Those insurgents have never attacked Uganda's territory or interests.
The cult-like Lord's Resistance Army is notorious for kidnapping children and using them as soldiers or concubines. It is made up of the remnants of a northern insurgency that began after Museveni, who like Besigye is a southerner, first took power. The rebels have declared they want to replace Museveni's government with one guided by the Ten Commandants. A.M.
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