Uganda probes 'terror piglets'
21 June 2014, 16:26
Kampala - Police in Uganda said on Saturday they were
testing two piglets for "terrorism related material" after they were
sneaked into the country's parliament by two anti-corruption protesters.
Seven police officers who were on duty outside parliament
have also been suspended over the embarrassing security breach and detained on
charges of neglect of duty, police deputy spokesperson Polly Namaye told AFP.
"The investigators are to test the animals for
terrorism related material. You never know, there could have been another
motive other than a protest," she said. "This is a standard practice
in investigations, leaving out no chances."
Uganda, which has troops in Somalia as part of the
African Union force fighting al-Qaeda-linked Shebab insurgents, is currently on
high alert amid fears of attacks by the militants.
"In this era, every option must be explored. What is
seen as a protest can be different, including terrorism, that's why these tests
must be done to ensure there is not any other motive by these protesters,"
This week two men managed to sneak into the tightly
guarded parliament and let loose two piglets. The men, Robert Mayanja and
Norman Tumuhimbise, are members of a protest movement calling themselves the
"jobless brotherhood group".
Officials said the protesters had painted the animals in
the colours of the ruling party of President Yoweri Museveni, one of Africa's
longest serving leaders, and had written slogans on the animals insulting MPs
as corrupt - including the word "MPigs".
On Friday, relatives of the men said they have been sent
to prison awaiting trial on three charges of "criminal trespass,
conspiracy to sneak piglets into parliament and interrupting parliament work”.
The unemployed men were protesting at what they said was
corruption and extravagant spending by lawmakers.
Uganda has been the subject of frequent criticism from
foreign donors over allegations of rampant corruption, although protests in the
country by Ugandans are rare.
Earlier this year, MPs caused a storm after it emerged
they had demanded a massive raise in their salaries, already 60 times higher
than most state employees, and that the country's chief auditor had complained
deputies had failed to account for millions of dollars of expenses.