A Ugandan police officer opened fire on a crowd of people after an attempted robbery, killing at least two people and critically wounding others, officials said Monday, days after a report was published alleging human-rights abuses by the national police.
The violence started around noon on Monday, when witnesses say a man tried to steal a motorcycle in Kampala, the capital. As he tried to run away, a mob descended on him, beating the man severely while a second suspect escaped. The mob then set the man on fire as he lay bleeding in the middle of the street.
When the police arrived, one officer fired on the crowd, including the mob and bystanders, immediately killing at least two people and wounding at least three others. The crowd soon turned violent again, hurling stones at the police, before being dispersed.
The police said the officer was immediately disarmed and arrested, and may be charged with murder.
"It is unfortunate," said Idi Ssenkumbi, spokesman for Kampala Metropolitan Police. "We wanted to rescue people but ended up killing others."
He said two people were taken to a hospital with gunshot wounds, and that the presumed, would-be thief had died from the beating and burning.