Kampala - A top Ugandan intelligence official appeared before a military court on Tuesday on charges of plotting to assassinate senior politicians in the east African nation, his lawyer told AFP.

The officer, Major Herbert Muramagi Asiimwe, is accused of plotting to kill members of parliament and others, and reportedly planned to poison the son of veteran President Yoweri Museveni.

It was not clear what the motives for the alleged conspiracy were.

“We have been to court, and they read out the charges, among them plotting to kill members of parliament and those they call 'superiors'. But my client denies these claims,” defence lawyer Allan Sserulika told AFP.

“My client has applied for bail but the state objected and he has been sent to detention,” Sserulika said.

Muramagi had been a head of marine operations for Uganda's Internal Security Organisation (ISO), an elite counter-intelligence agency responsible for providing national security intelligence to the president and policy makers.

The agency has been accused by human rights activists of being used by the Ugandan government to suppress political opponents.

According to army spokesman Paddy Ankunda, the accused “faces many charges, among them plotting to kill superiors” and acting “prejudicial to good order and discipline”. He said the trial would resume on April 1.

A government-leaning tabloid, Red Pepper, said the major also planned to poison and kill President Museveni's son, Muhoozi Kainerugaba, who serves as head of the Special Forces Group responsible for protecting the head of state and key installations.

The paper claimed Uganda's police chief Kale Kayihura was among other top officials on the alleged hit list.