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WEDNESDAY LIVE UPDATES: News from in and around Uganda

9:50AM: Senior UPDF officer’s son abducted

Security agencies are treading cautiously in their quest to free from abduction a son to a senior Uganda People’s Defense Forces (UPDF) officer.

Mr Denis Alyenyo, a son to Col Dr Francis Ongia, the Chairperson Operation Wealth Creation (OWC) at Amolator District, was last Thursday abducted by unknown people from his home in Maga Maga, Mayuge District along the Jinja-Iganga Highway.

Preliminary findings indicated that the abductors were reportedly seeking a Shs7m ransom before freeing Mr Alyenyo. However, unconfirmed reports on Tuesday indicated that the ransom had risen to Shs15m.

9:10AM: Mulago probes baby deaths

Mulago hospital has tasked doctors at the Kawempe Referral Hospital to come out with a report on the three babies who died at the facility recently.

The Mulago Hospital spokesperson, Mr Enoch Kusasira, said the doctors should explain to the public the actual cause of the deaths, insisting that oxygen deficiency is not the cause as was reported in the media yesterday.

“In fact, these babies were underweight and they had other complications that made them to be taken to the ICU [Intensive Care Unit]. For that matter, doctors should tell the public what exactly caused the deaths of these babies,” Mr Kusasira said in an interview yesterday.

9:00AM: Bodies of eight UPDF soldiers killed in Somalia returned home

Bodies of the eight Ugandan soldiers killed in the Sunday al-Shabaab attacks on Uganda People’s Defence Force’s (UPDF) camps in Somalia were this afternoon returned home amidst cries of sadness.

Metallic boxes bearing the remains of the fallen soldiers were transferred from a plane to waiting UPDF ambulances that took them to Bombo Military Hospital for embalmment.

It is not yet clear when the bodies will be handed over to relatives for burial. Names of the fallen soldiers were not readily available.

8:55AM: Uganda to clear Shs150 billion South Sudan debt

Parliament has recommended that the government pays outstanding arrears amounting to $41m (Shs150 billion) to 10 Ugandan companies that supplied maize and sorghum to the government of South Sudan.

The 10 companies, under the Uganda South Sudan Grain Traders and Suppliers Association Ltd, supplied maize and sorghum to 10 South Sudan states under the Strategic Grain Reserves Suppliers for $56m (Shs205 billion) between 2008-2010.Under the agreement, the money was to be paid in five instalments. 

However, the South Sudan government only paid the first instalment of $15m (Shss55 billion), leaving a debt of $41m (Shs150b) following a bloody civil war broke out between forces loyal to President Salva Kiir and his exiled former vice president, Dr Riek Machar.

8:50AM: Cabinet presents tax bills for 2018/19 financial year to Parliament

The government has this afternoon tabled six tax bills for the next financial year.

The bills tabled by the Minister of State for Planning, David Bahati include; the Appropriations Bill, 2018; Finance (amendment) Bill, 2018; Income Tax Bill 2018; Value Added Tax Bill 2018; Excise Duty Tax 2018; as well as Stamp Duty Tax 2018.

Bahati had earlier indicated that the bills were not ready and asked for five minutes to finalise them.

8:40AM: Museveni issues new directive on taxi fees

President Museveni has issued a new directive on the fees to be paid by commuter taxi operators, as an amendment to the one he issued in November last year.

Taxis plying Kampala roads or operating within 21 kilometres from Kampala will pay Shs720,000 while those operating long distances on upcountry routes will be paying Shs840,000 per year.

The new directive is a win for Kampala drivers whose fee has only gone up by only Shs20,000. For taxis plying long routes, the fee has gone up from Shs500,000, a figure that Mr Museveni had set in November to Shs840,000 - the fee agreed last week.

8:35AM: Recentralise veterinary services, doctors tell government

Veterinary doctors under their umbrella body, Uganda Veterinary Association (UVA), have asked government to recentralise all veterinary services to the Agriculture ministry to improve the livestock sector in the country.

The demand was made during a press conference yesterday at their head offices on Buganda Road, Kampala, ahead of the annual World Veterinary Day (WVD).

This year’s WVD will be celebrated on April 27 in Ntoroko District. The theme is: “The role of the veterinary profession in sustainable development to improve livelihoods, food security and safety”.

8:30AM: Bishop Luwalira attacker to appear in court today

A stick-wielding man, who was arrested as he moved forward toward Bishop Wilberforce Kityo Luwalira at Namirembe Cathedral during Easter prayers, will be arraigned in court today.

The police yesterday said they have preferred charges of disrupting a religious gathering against Mr Herbert Kaddu, but the case file has been sent to the Resident State Attorney for legal advice.

“We are waiting to record statements from some people from the church,” said Mr Luke Owoyesigire, the Kampala Metropolitan police spokesperson.