U.S. Urges Peaceful End To Uganda Violence

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"We urge the Ugandan government and the demonstrators to find a peaceful solution," Darbey Holiday, a spokesperson at the U.S. Department of State told The Black Star News. "We are watching the situation in Kampala and elsewhere very carefully," he said.

[Global: Africa]

The United States has called for a peaceful end to the turmoil in Uganda where as many as 10 demonstrators have been reported killed when security forces fired at supporters of a hereditary King, on Thursday.

"We urge the Ugandan government and the demonstrators to find a peaceful solution," Darbey Holiday, a spokesperson at the U.S. Department of State told The Black Star News. "We are watching the situation in Kampala and elsewhere very carefully," he said.

He denied as "absolutely false" rumors that the United States Embassy in Kampala, the Ugandan capital, had been closed, but said Americans should be careful. "We urge United States citizens in Uganda to exercise extreme caution. If there is any further information we need to communicate to U.S. citizens we will post it on our website," Holliday added.

Local Uganda media outlets report that protests erupted in the capital city of Kampala and beyond when the police blocked a senior official of the hereditary king of Buganda, the Kabaka Ronald Mutebi II, from visiting Kayunga, an area in Buganda kingdom. The Kabaka's emissary was his prime minister or "Katikkiro," John Baptist Walusimbi.

Clashes erupted between the Kabaka's supporters and security forces--the police and army.

The Buganda monarchy is within Uganda. Kabaka Mutebi II was himself due to visit Kayunga on Saturday. The government says his visit would spark violence; the Kabaka's supporters claim the government itself is stirring dissent against the Kabaka in Kayunga.

From a political standpoint relations have collapsed between Kabaka Mutebi II and Uganda's autocratic ruler General Yoweri Museveni; the Kabaka favors a federal form of government, a system the Museveni government opposes.

Uganda holds presidential elections in 2011 and it's widely anticipated that Mutebi II's supporters would back opposition candidates.

The Committee To Protect Journalists (CPJ) in New York today reports that four Ugandan radio stations have been shuttered by the government.

All stations have also been ordered to halt political debate programming in the wake of the clashes. “The government is employing sweeping measures and making broad assertions to crack down on critical media,” CPJ Africa Program Coordinator Tom Rhodes said. “They’re not fooling anyone.”

The Central Broadcasting Service (CBS), which is owned by the Buganda kingdom, has been off the air since around 6 p.m. local time on Thursday, according to Editor-in-Chief Godfrey Male Busuulwa, CPJ reported. Broadcasting Council technicians backed by soldiers had seized transmitting equipment, CPJ was told.

"Council agents backed by soldiers also raided the studios of Radio Sapientia, a Catholic Church-run station," CPJ reported, attributing the information to station director, Sister Denis Samanya.

"Council agents backed by soldiers also raided the studios of Radio Sapientia, a Catholic Church-run station," CPJ reported, attributing the information to station director, Sister Denis Samanya.

"The station had aired a morning talk show during which callers reacted to Thursday’s deadly riots," CPJ reported, adding that "A similar raid took place at Radio Two, a community station popularly known as 'Akaboozi' according to General Manager Maria Kiwanuka."

"Both Samanya and Kiwanuka said they had not received notice of any infraction," CPJ added. "Ssuubi FM, a commercial, youth-oriented station, was forced off the air today after a raid by Council technicians and soldiers, according to Managing Director Ahmed Bogere Masembe," CPJ reported.

In a statement, the chairman of the Uganda Broadcasting Council, Godfrey Mutabazi, accused the four stations of inciting violence and breaching minimum broadcasting standards.




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