Uganda Holds Air Force Officer, Three Others in Latest Crackdown

  • Suspects accused of subversive actions may face military court
  • 30 people arrested last week accused of plotting a coup

Ugandan authorities arrested an air force garrison commander and three other people for alleged subversive activities, police said, the latest in a series of detentions on similar accusations since June 10.

Colonel Dan Opit Odwee and three civilians are being investigated by both law enforcement officers and the army, police spokesman Fred Enanga said Monday by phone from Kampala, the East African nation’s capital. The four detained may be charged in a military court, he said.

Agence France-Presse reported on June 10 that Ugandan authorities had arrested 30 people, including a member of the opposition and the military, accused of plotting to overthrow President Yoweri Museveni. Enanga said he didn’t have details on the number of people held by the army. Military spokesman Paddy Ankunda had his phone switched off when Bloomberg called Monday seeking comment.

Museveni, 71, won elections in February that extended his three-decade rule of Africa’s biggest coffee exporter. The opposition Forum for Democratic Change, whose leader Kizza Besigye has been imprisoned on charges of treason, said the vote was rigged.

‘Utter Rubbish’

Odwee’s alleged offense is linked to a treason case against opposition lawmaker Michael Kabaziguruka, now under house arrest for allegedly planning to attack police and military installations, the Kampala-based Daily Monitor reported Monday, citing police chief Kale Kayihura as saying. The accusations are “complete, utter rubbish,” Kabaziguruka, a member of the FDC, said by phone from his home.

Human Rights Watch and 30 other advocacy groups on Monday urged Uganda’s police to properly investigate a series of attacks on non-governmental organizations in the country. Intruders broke into the offices of at least three groups in Kampala in April and May, with a security guard beaten to death in one of the incidents, they said in an e-mailed statement.

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