Victim or villain as 100 are killed in Kasese massacre?
On Nov. 14, two police officers on guard at Queen Elizabeth National Park in Kasese district were attacked and killed by unknown assailants who grabbed their two guns and disappeared. This was just two days after Speaker of Parliament Rebecca Kadaga visited the district and launched the Rwenzori Peace Symposium organised by Nyabaghole Agnes Ithungu, the wife of Rwenzururu King Charles Wesley Mumbere.
About two weeks later, on Saturday Nov. 26, officers of several Uganda security forces stormed the office of Obusinga bwa Rwenzururu in Kasese town in a show of force. Eight obusinga guards were shot and killed on spot. They arrested two female guards from this office. The killing left a bitter taste among the Bakonzo subjects of the Omusinga of Rwenzururu Charles W. Mumbere people.
The Saturday attack found the people in Maliba subcounty in the market. According to an eyewitness, on hearing the news of the killing of eight guards, an angry mob hunted down a policeman who was in the vicinity. They cornered him and slit his throat. At Maliba alone two policemen were killed. This could have inspired the rage of the security personnel as it happened on Sunday.
Top security bosses in Kampala had sent a message to Mumbere to surrender his guards. The police and army accused them of attacking their installation and planning a secessionist insurrection. But Mumbere refused to hand over his men.
The next day, Nov. 27, President Yoweri Museveni gave Omusinga of Rwenzururu Charles W. Mumbere, a final ultimatum: Surrender your guards and their ‘weapons’ in two hours or face the consquences.
The two hours ended and Mumbere and his group were still holed up in the palace in Kasese town.
There are conflicting reports here. One version is that they were negotiating safe passage with the Deputy RDC Kasese, Justine Muhindo, who represented the government side. The government view is that they defied the presidential ultimatum.
According to Atkins Katusabe, Bukonzo West MP, who was part of the people negotiating the safe exit of the guards, at exactly 1:01pm, a minute after the President’s ultimatum reportedly expired and when the local leaders were still negotiating for an extension, the army and police descended on the palace with armoured troop carriers called mambas, bombs, and indiscriminate shooting.
Katusabe and other political leaders from Kasese district were reportedly inside the Palace in a meeting with the king, Charles Wesley Mumbere negotiating for peaceful resolution of the conflict when the attack occurred.