Uganda charges six with treason for rebel recruitment

Tue Jun 28, 2011 6:35pm GMT

By Elias Biryabarema

KAMPALA (Reuters) - Uganda has charged six opposition supporters with treason, saying the suspects had been recruiting members for two previously unknown rebel groups, a senior police official said on Tuesday.

However, an official of Uganda's largest opposition party said the charges were part of continuing government efforts to criminalise the opposition.

The police's director of criminal investigations Edward Ochom said inquiries into the suspects, which started after a former rebel leader was murdered, had unearthed information linking the suspects to rebel activity.

"Our investigations show that these people were conducting recruiting for these new rebel groups and coordinating their logistics but I can't offer any more details because the matter now is before court," Ochom told Reuters.

Critics of President Yoweri Museveni's government say it has used the fight against rebels as an excuse to stifle genuine political opposition to his rule.

Over the past 23 years, Uganda has been battling another rebel group, the Lord's Resistance Army, led by Joseph Kony who is wanted by the International Criminal Court.

Anne Mugisha, deputy foreign secretary for Forum for Democratic Change, the largest opposition party, said the treason charges were "part of a continuing process to criminalise the opposition in Uganda."

The government was trying to find a way of linking former presidential candidate Kizza Besigye to rebel activity, she said.   Continued...

<p>Uganda?s President Yoweri Museveni speaks at the presentation of the Government Budget for the year 2011/2012 at the Serena conference center in the capital Kampala, June 8, 2011. REUTERS/Edward Echwalu</p>
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