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  1. #1
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    Uganda's Kasubi royal tombs gutted by fire

    Uganda's Kasubi royal tombs gutted by fire


    The tombs had become major tourist attractions

    The tombs of four Ugandan regional kings have been wrecked by fire, sparking protests and claims of arson.

    Thousands of people poured on to the streets of Kampala and eyewitnesses said at least one person was killed after security forces opened fire.

    Police denied anyone had been hurt and said the cause of the fire was unknown.

    The Unesco-listed site housed tombs of kings of the Buganda region. The kingdom has had uneasy relations with the central government recently.

    A dispute over territory between King Ronald Mutebi and President Yoweri Museveni led to mass riots late last year.

    Eyewitnesses say Mr Museveni tried to visit the Kasubi tombs near Kampala to see the extent of the fire damage, but supporters of the king blocked his convoy.

    Shots fired

    The BBC's Joshua Mmali, at the scene of the fire, says people are mourning the loss of the monuments.
    FROM GLOBAL VOICES

    This relationship between President Museveni's government and Buganda Kingdom is far from rosy and this has already given fertile ground for many to think there was some foulplay. Many people seem to expect riots... We only hope there will be a thorough investigation... and that no people will lose their lives and property.

    Rosebell's Blog, by Ugandan journalist Rosebell Kagumiret





    Read more views by Ugandan bloggers on Global Voices
    What is this?

    He says the tombs are revered among some people in the Buganda region as a symbol of what had traditionally belonged to their kingdom.

    Police chief Maj Gen Kale Kayihura told AFP news agency that the emergency services had been "obstructed by a hostile crowd" when they arrived at the scene.

    "Faced with this hostility and in an effort to stop the fire from destroying the tombs, the officer fired some shots in the air to disperse the crowd but no-one was hurt," he said.

    Buganda regional official Charles Peter Mayiga said the kingdom's leadership would also try to establish what had caused the fire.

    "There are people who want to cause harm to this kingdom. They are keen on destabilising us and we don't know whether they're behind this," Reuters quoted him as saying.

    Buganda is the largest of Uganda's four ancient kingdoms.

    They were abolished in 1966 but reinstated by Mr Museveni's government in 1993.
    However, he restored them only as cultural institutions with no political power.

    BBC News - Uganda's Kasubi royal tombs gutted by fire


    Narrated Introduction to the Royal Tombs of Kasubi




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  3. #3
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    Protesters killed at Uganda's Kasubi tombs

    Protesters killed at Uganda's Kasubi tombs


    Protesters fled as military police moved in

    At least two protesters have been shot dead by Ugandan police after they tried to stop the president from visiting the site of a fire at a royal mausoleum.

    The protesters booed President Yoweri Museveni and set up a barricade to stop him from reaching the tombs at Kasubi.

    The fire destroyed the tombs - a Unesco heritage site built in the 19th Century for kings of the Buganda region.

    Supporters of Mr Museveni and Buganda's King Ronald Mutebi have been at loggerheads since riots last year.

    They fell out after the king - whose role is largely ceremonial - accused the government of blocking him from visiting a part of his kingdom.

    It is something that we have built and kept and maintained for our children and grandchildren and many generations unborn


    Medard Ssegona Lubega
    Buganda official



    In pictures: Kasubi tombs fire


    At least 20 people died in riots linked with that incident.

    And angry protesters and royal advisers have said they believe the tomb fire might have been arson.

    Mr Museveni, who eventually gained access to the fire scene, promised to investigate the claims.

    But he said protesters had interfered with the "scene of the crime", making it difficult to find out how the fire was caused.

    King Ronald also visited the scene and called for a week's mourning.

    Buganda official Medard Ssegona Lubega described the fire as the "second biggest tragedy" in the kingdom's history.

    "There are many men of our fallen kings lie in this house, which is now down to ashes," he told the BBC's Network Africa.

    "It is something that we have built and kept and maintained for our children and grandchildren and many generations unborn."

    Buganda is the largest of Uganda's four ancient kingdoms.

    They were abolished in 1966 but reinstated by Mr Museveni's government in 1993.

    However, he restored them only as cultural institutions with no political power.

    Supporters of King Ronald believe he should have more power and influence than Mr Museveni allows.


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