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Page last updated at 10:26 GMT, Saturday, 12 September 2009 11:26 UK

Ugandan king postpones town rally

Burnt-out cars litter the street around the razed Nateete police station in Kampala, Uganda on Saturday
Kampala is littered with debris after the king's supporters clashed with police

The king of Uganda's largest ethnic group, the Baganda, has put off a visit to a town in his kingdom, his spokesman has said.

It follows two days of riots in the capital, Kampala, in which at least 11 people were killed.

The spokesman said the king did not want to see violence spreading to the town, Kayunga. But he stressed the event was postponed, not cancelled.

The move defuses the tension for now, says the BBC's Peter Greste.

Our correspondent - reporting from neighbouring Kenya - says although Kampala is now calm, the police are maintaining a high profile, particularly in neighbourhoods that saw some of the worst violence.

'Lynched'

The spokesman for King Ronald Muwenda Mutebi II said the postponement of Saturday's planned youth rally would allow time for talks with the central government.

Ugandan armed police patrol the streets of Kampala, Uganda on Saturday
Armed police are out in force in parts of the capital

He said they would find a way to hold the event in a "peaceful and secure" environment.

On Thursday and Friday, the king's supporters set up barricades, looted shops and fought running battles with police.

At least 11 people are now thought to have been killed, the director of the main hospital in the city, Iga Matovu, told Agence France Presse news agency on Saturday.

He said some had been killed by bullets and others appeared to have been lynched.

The protests happened when the government - citing security risks - banned the king from travelling to Kayunga, which says it has seceded from his kingdom.

There have been reports that police opened fire on rioters.

A Ugandan government spokesman, Fred Opolot, told the BBC there would be a full investigation, but that he believed the police had behaved "absolutely professionally".

Farmland

Uganda map

Buganda is one of Uganda's four ancient kingdoms and its tribal members are Uganda's largest ethnic group.

The country's traditional kingdoms were banned in 1966 but reinstated by President Yoweri Museveni in 1993.

The Baganda have long called for the restoration of a federal administration that would give their largely ceremonial king the formal political power he is currently denied.

They are also seeking more control over the traditional lands, which include prime farmland they say has been taken by other ethnic groups.



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