54 of Omusinga’s royal guards surrender

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A total of 54 men said to be Rwenzururu royal guards have surrendered to government in Kabarole District.
The royal guards were reportedly operating in Kateebwa, Rubona and Karangura Sub Counties in Kabarole whose population is predominately Bakonzo.

The surrender follows an amnesty issued by government last year to all royal guards in the Rwenzori region suspected to have been involved in clashes with government forces since post-election violence in 2016. The fresh clashes that started in Kabarole in September 2016 later spilled to the neighboring Kasese District with the palace raid by the army and police on November 27, 2016.
Following the clashes which left about 100 people dead, Rwenzururu King Charles Wesley Mumbere and 150 of his royal guards were arrested.
The unarmed royal guards have since Monday been surrendering to security officials at Kyamukube Sub County Headquarters.
Mr Muneyi Yeremiya, a clan leader from Obusinga Bwa Rwenzururu who is in-charge of receiving the royal guards, said they expect more to come out of hiding.

Mr Yeremiya further noted that each guard who surrenders is screened and profiled before they are asked to record their statements with the police.
The acting Rwenzururu Prime Minister, Yeremiya Mutooro said the Omusinga Charles Wesley Mumbere wants all the royal guards still in hiding to come out and be granted amnesty.
Mr Mutooro explained that the move is aimed at restoring peace in the Kingdom following the UPDF-led offensive in which more than 100 people died.

Mr Mumbere and more than 150 of his guards was arrested and charged with several counts of murder, attempted murder, kidnap, treason and terrorism, among others. Mumbere was released on bail on Monday this week, but the state has restricted his movements to within Kampala and Wakiso areas.
Some of the guards claimed that they had been misled into joining a militia with promises of getting money and jobs.
Moses Muhindo, one of those who surrendered in Katebwa, said he has been a royal guard for two years. Muhindo, who has been in hiding for two months, said he decided to surrender for fear of being arrested by security forces.

Mr Musa Tibakirana, the Kabarole District Police Commander, said that those who have surrendered were free to return to their homes after recording statements with police.
Mr Tibakairana however, noted that the royal guards who are still in hiding may not benefit from the amnesty.

In December last year, 167 guards surrendered in Kasese District. This was shortly after the attack on Mumbere’s palace and administrative offices.

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