Uganda: Bobi Wine arrested on arrival

Authorities in Uganda deny MP has been arrested and say he was just ‘escorted’ home.

By BYANSI Samuel Baker

Uganda’s opposition politician Robert Kyagulanyi aka Bobi wine was taken by police after arriving back in the country from the United States where he received medical treatment for alleged torture.

his wife said Kyagulanyi was seized by security officers upon arrival at the international airport in Kampala on Thursday.

“Security surrounded him and took him away,” Barbie Kyagulanyi told Africa plenary .

A prominent critic of President Yoweri Museveni, police later said in a statement he had been “peacefully escorted” home.

Kyagulanyi’s US-based lawyer Robert Amsterdam Twitted the singer was “unlawfully detained by military officers” after he arrived home.

Security forces sealed off roads and erected barricades around Entebbe airport leading up to his return as helicopters flew overhead. Authorities banned rallies to welcome Kyagulanyi but many ignored those orders.

The 36-year old musician-turned-lawmaker is widely seen as posing a significant challenge to Museveni, 74, who has ruled Uganda since 1986.

Treason charges

Many supports wore red T-shirts and hats. The colour has come to be associated with his “people power” movement, and demonstrators at Ugandan embassies in London, Nairobi and elsewhere have donned the same colour during protests.

Bobi Wine sought treatment in the US earlier this month for wounds allegedly sustained while in custody by security officers. Uganda’s government has denied accusations of  torture.

Police arrested the singer’s brother and at least two other people who were driving to the airport, without explanation, another Kyagulanyi lawyer, Asuman Basalirwa, said.

The pop singer, who won a national assembly seat last year, faces treason charges for his alleged role in an incident last month in which the president’s convoy was pelted with stones. He denies wrongdoing.

His message – that young Ugandans need a dynamic new head of state to tackle the myriad problems they face – has electrified citizens who say they are fed up with corruption, unemployment, and state repression of dissent.

The government denies allegations of corruption and of stifling opposition.

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