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Uganda: Lethal Response to Killings | Human Rights Watch

Uganda: Lethal Response to Killings | Human Rights Watch

Members of the Bakonzo and Bamba ethnic groups in Uganda’s western Rwenzori region clashed following contested local elections and political infighting, resulting in at least 30 deaths. During the subsequent law enforcement operations, the Ugandan police and military killed at least 17 people. One police officer and two soldiers were also killed.


The recent wave of violence began in Bundibugyo district on February 27, following contested local elections. The Bakonzo cultural kingdom has historically had tense relationships with both the neighboring Bwamba kingdom comprised of ethnic Bamba people and the central government. A group of armed men – all allegedly of Bamba ethnicity – attacked two ethnic Bakonzo households in Busengerwa 4 village, in Bundibugyo district, shooting and killing one person and critically injuring another with machetes.


This attack sparked the latest in a series of retaliatory, inter-ethnic killings in the district until early April, leaving at least 30 people dead, seven of them children. Hundreds of houses of both ethnic groups were burned, and hundreds were displaced as a result of the violence. police and the army killed at least 13 people during alleged arrest attempts. Multiple witnesses said that in all of those cases, the victims were unarmed when shot and killed.


In all but one case, witness accounts suggest that security forces shot people at close range who were not threatening them or others at the time of the arrest.


“The killings of unarmed people has fueled sentiment that the government is not a neutral party between ethnic groups in the Rwenzori region,” Burnett said. “Ensuring protection for everyone, no matter their ethnicity, and holding security forces to account for their conduct, is critical to preventing recurring cycles of violence.”

Source: Uganda: Lethal Response to Killings | Human Rights Watch

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