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Thousands mourn at Buganda tombs in Uganda

Mourners
Some said they would spend the whole week at the site

Thousands of people have attended the site of a Ugandan royal mausoleum destroyed by fire last week, for the start of a week of mourning.

Many people wore traditional clothes, such as white tunics or kanzus and items made from bark cloth.

The burning of the tombs of the Buganda kingdom sparked protests in which at least two people were killed.

Government supporters and Buganda's King Ronald Mutebi have been at loggerheads since riots last year.

The BBC's Joshua Mmali says there were thousands of people both inside and outside the site, but in contrast to protests last week, there were only a few unarmed police officers on duty.

Our reporter says some people were wearing black to mourn the loss of the tombs.

The fire in Kasubi

Mourner Mpiima William told the BBC he was going to spend the whole week at the site. "We are not going to work before we accomplish this business," he said.

He also said he was ready to sell his possessions to help fund the restoration of the 19th Century mausoleum at Kasubi - a Unesco world heritage site.

The government has said it will help rebuild the site and Baganda ministers are discussing the plans.

It remains unclear what started the fire, although some suspect arson.

Buganda is the largest of Uganda's four ancient kingdoms; abolished in 1966 but reinstated by President Yoweri Museveni's government in 1993.

However, he restored them only as cultural institutions with no political power.

Supporters of King Ronald believe he should have more power and influence than Mr Museveni allows.



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SEE ALSO
Protesters killed at Uganda tombs
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In pictures: Kasubi tombs fire
17 Mar 10 |  In Pictures
Uganda royal tombs gutted by fire
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27 Nov 09 |  Africa
Landmark royal meeting in Uganda
30 Sep 09 |  Africa
Royal riots expose Uganda tensions
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