Sixteen people were killed in Uganda in two days of clashes triggered by yet another arrest of the January 2021 presidential candidate, popular singer Bobi Wine, and the situation remained tense and chaotic on Thursday, November 18, in Kampala.
“The toll is now 16 dead and 45 injured, some seriously”Kampala Metropolitan Police Chief Moses Kafeero said. A previous police report reported seven dead. “Around 350 people were arrested for acts of violence, such as looting, destruction of property, disruption of traffic, robberies and thefts with violence during the riots”, he added.
On Thursday evening, detonations continued to be heard in Kampala, according to a correspondent who saw looters in certain areas of the capital stealing the belongings of motorists before the police intervened by opening fire.
Police shoot “Rubber bullets and tear gas” to disperse “Rioters [qui] light fires in the streets, rob those who circulate and attack shops “Mr. Kafeero explained in the evening.
Residents of Kampala have reported having cellphones, money and purses stolen after being stopped at roadblocks by masked men demanding money, allegedly to pay Bobi Wine’s attorney fees.
The electoral campaign is in full swing ahead of a presidential poll where the 38-year-old opposition MP and song star will be the main opponent of Yoweri Museveni, 76, in power since 1986.
The Red Cross had indicated, late Wednesday, to have treated dozens of wounded, including 11 by bullets after several hours of clashes in Kampala between police officers and young demonstrators mad with anger after learning of the arrest of their champion.
Robert Kyagulanyi, whose real name is, was arrested Wednesday in Jinja (East), where he was campaigning, for having, according to the police, violated measures to fight against the coronavirus during his rallies. The clashes also affected this city and, notably, other urban centers in the country.
Passed out in prison
Heavily deployed Thursday in Kampala, the police dispersed during the day, with tear gas fire, the very beginning of rallies. In some neighborhoods, sporadic gunfire rang out and residents remained cloistered. In Jinja, a group of Bobi Wine supporters remained encamped in front of Nalufenya prison, where the opponent was still being held Thursday evening.
The leader of this group, Muhammad Ssegirinya, candidate for deputation in 2021 under the banner of the National Unity Platform of Mr. Wine, was arrested on Thursday after he released an audio recording claiming that the opponent had passed out. in prison and was going to be transferred abroad for treatment.
Patrick Oboi Amuriat, another of the 11 presidential candidates scheduled for January 14, was also arrested Wednesday in Gulu (North), then released the same evening, without being prosecuted.
On Thursday, 33 people were referred and charged for “Incitement to violence against the police” and placed in pre-trial detention, with the exception of two minors, released on bail, according to the judicial services.
Call for “goodwill”
Two candidates, Henry Tumukunde and Gregory Mugisha Muntu, have suspended their election campaigns to protest what they have called police violence against the opposition. Mr. Museveni did not comment on the demonstrations but posted, Thursday morning, the program of his day of electoral campaign in the region of Karamoja (north-east).
The government daily New Vision posted a video on Twitter showing many supporters of the Head of State gathering to welcome him, without respecting health instructions.
United Nations spokesperson Stéphane Dujarric recalled Thursday “The need to provide people with a space of expression, whether through demonstrations or a democratic process”.
He called “State institutions, particularly the security forces, to act with respect for human rights” and all the parts “To ensure that the elections are peaceful”.
President Museveni’s regime has shown, in recent months, many signs of nervousness against Bobi Wine, arrested or under house arrest on numerous occasions since 2018. He had thus been arrested for the umpteenth time in early November, immediately afterwards. having submitted his candidacy for the presidential election, on the grounds that he was planning an illegal gathering.
Elected as an MP in 2017, Bobi Wine has become the spokesperson for an urban and often very poor Ugandan youth who do not recognize themselves in the aging regime of President Museveni.