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Uganda again arrests traditional leader over clashes last year

KAMPALA (Reuters) - Police in Uganda have re-arrested a traditional leader who is facing treason and other charges hours after he was granted bail by a court, a judicial official said on Saturday.

Charles Wesley Mumbere was first detained in November after what he calls his royal guards refused an order by security forces to disarm and surrender, leading to a stand-off and a raid on his residence by police.

More than 60 people were killed in clashes.

He was freed on bail on Friday but just hours later he was detained again, judiciary spokesman Solomon Muyita said. "He was re-arrested by police because he has other charges," he said.

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Mumbere is a tribal leader of the Bakonzo people found in the Rwenzori region near Uganda's border with the Democratic Republic of Congo. The area overwhelmingly backed the main rival to President Yoweri Museveni in the 2015 election.

Government critics accuse security forces of deliberately stoking unrest in the area because of its backing for the opposition. Rights group Amnesty International said security forces carried out extrajudicial killings in the November clashes.

Officials dismiss the charges and say Mumbere and his supporters have been promoting secession from Uganda.

Uganda has many traditional leaders who have largely ceremonial roles but wield significant political influence among people in their regions.

(Reporting by Elias Biryabarema; Editing by Edmund Blair and Angus MacSwan)

 
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