KAMPALA (Reuters) – Ugandan police said on Monday they had arrested 29 alleged members of a suspected newly formed rebel group seeking to topple the government of long-ruling President Yoweri Museveni.
Police said the group, called the Uganda Coalition for Change (UCFC), had established training camps in central Uganda and were behind attacks on police personnel this month that left at least four of them dead. Guns were also stolen, police said.
The suspects “attended training in weapons and military drills at the UCFC rebel camps”, police said.
“They joined the rebel group with plans of overthrowing the sitting government,” the statement said.
Two police officers were killed in an ambush in Mityana district, about 70 km west of Kampala, in early December, the Daily Monitor newspaper reported. NTV Uganda reported a second incident on Dec. 17 in which two police personnel were killed in an attack on a police post in a nearby area.
Central Uganda is a stronghold of pop star and opposition leader Bobi Wine who lost to Museveni in January’s presidential election. Wine, whose real name is Robert Kyagulanyi, rejected the results, alleging widespread malpractices and violence against his supporters that included detentions and torture.
Police said the detained suspects said they were motivated to join the group by the outcome of the election and warned unnamed politicians over what it called plans to “bring about societal collapse and lead to an uprising or civil war”.
Wine has not advocated violence and has said his supporters should only use constitutional means to reclaim what he says was their stolen victory.
Rights groups and the opposition have accused the government of continuing to harass and detain Wine’s supporters even after the polls. Two lawmakers from Wine’s party are in detention over murder charges that the party said are trumped up.
(Reporting by Elias Biryabarema; Editing by Alison Williams)