Gunfire, teargas in Luwero as youth block Gulu highway ahead of Kabaka’s visit

Gunfire, teargas in Luwero as youth block Gulu highway ahead of Kabaka's visit
Buganda loyalists blocking the road

Luwero, Uganda | URN | Anti-riot police fired teargas to disperse youths in Luwero town who had blocked Kampala Gulu highway ahead of the Kabaka’s visit.

The youth did not want anybody to pass through the arch that they constructed over the road to welcome the Kabaka until he had passed through. Kabaka Ronald Muwenda Mutebi is expected on Saturday 11, June 2022 at Kasana playground in Luwero town council to launch the Bika (clans) football tournament.

Since Monday this week, youth from Luwero town council have been constructing an arch near the pineapple roadside market in Kasana, Luwero town council ahead of Kabaka visit. Upon completion of the arch, the youths mounted barricades made of wood and stones to block all traffic.

The unruly youths stood in the road singing praise songs for the Kabaka and the Kingdom. Others sat in the road as they drank alcohol while drumming and dancing to cultural songs.

They forced motorists into using feeder roads to connect back to Kampala–Gulu highway. The road was blocked for close to seven hours paralyzing transport at the road which is the gateway to South Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

The arch built to welcome the Kabaka. Youth forced motorists on the Kampala Gulu highway to user alternative routes at this point, forcing police to intervene.

Luwero District Police Commander Living Twazagye, LC III chairperson Chris Johns Buwembo and Buganda kingdom representative in Bulemeezi county Ronald Mulondo tried to persuade the youths to unblock the road to ease traffic in vain.

At around 7:30 pm, the anti-riot police commanded by DPC Twazagye fired teargas to disperse the youths to clear the road.

Twazagye said that he resorted to dispersing the youths because they had refused to listen to anybody and had become unruly on the road. Police also confiscated the public address system and drums which the youths have been using for entertainment throughout the day.

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Nearby shops and restaurants closed early as the police engage the youths in running battles on the streets. Earlier, security personnel travelling in a Toyota Prado also fired live bullets so as to clear the way through. The youths scampered for their lives but later they regrouped and blocked the road again.

The youths also throw stones at another truck belonging to Uganda People’s Defense Forces (UPDF), an act that alarmed the soldiers occupying it, and they cocked their guns but didn’t fire at them.

Buganda Kingdom condemn the youth

Mulondo condemned the youths in Luwero for blocking roads in the guise of protecting them for the Kabaka. Mulondo said that it’s not in the Kiganda culture for subjects to block road access to others as they express joy to welcome the Kabaka.

He also apologized to the people affected by the inconvenience and the police operation to restore order and asked the leaders to nurture the subjects so as to always listen to guidance.

“On behalf of the county, I want to state it that the people who engaged in such acts are not part of us and I encourage all subjects to always keep peace,” Mulondo said in the Luganda statement.

Mulondo has also rushed to Busula trading centre to persuade other youths who also attempted to block a section of the highway.

Police backed by soldiers have since been deployed in major towns along the highway to ensure the smooth flow of traffic.