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A top Ugandan government official on Thursday called for calm after deadly protests in the capital Kampala and other major towns in the country left several people dead and dozens injured.

Judith Nabakooba, minister of ICT and national guidance, in a statement issued here urged the public especially the youth to stay away from any form of rioting.

“Starting fires in the middle of the road, looting, attacking others because of their political ideology is wrong and should be condemned by everyone. I call upon the public to cooperate with the police in identifying the suspects behind these unfortunate incidences,” the minister said.

Violent protests broke out on Wednesday and Thursday after opposition presidential candidate Robert Kyagulanyi was arrested over violation of COVID-19 prevention guidelines.

Police in a statement on Wednesday said three people were killed and 34 others injured in the capital Kampala. Nabakooba said on Thursday that the number could continue to grow if you take into account the countrywide incidences.

Brig. Flavia Byekwaso, military spokesperson, told Xinhua by telephone that security in the capital and other major towns has been beefed up to quell the riots. “We have to show more presence in the city to make sure that what happened yesterday doesn’t come up again.

But also to give assurance to Ugandans that the situation is under control such that they can come back to work,” Byekwaso said.

Uganda’s Electoral Commission earlier this month cleared 11 presidential candidates, including incumbent President Yoweri Museveni to run in the 2021 general elections.

The electoral body urged candidates to follow the strict guidelines in preventing the spread of the coronavirus.

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