Uganda: U.S. Condemns Killing of Civilians Protesting Bobi Wine's Arrest

The man Museveni fears
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Kyagulanyi was drawing mammoth crowds and dictator Museveni lost his nerve.

The United States has condemned the killing as of many as 10 people today by Ugandan dictator Gen. Yoweri Museveni’s security forces during protests following the arrest of presidential candidate Robert Kyagulanyi Sentamu, a.k.a. Bobi Wine, a major challenger who seems to have enough support to unseat the country’s ruler of 34 years.

Demonstrations occurred throughout Uganda and overseas, including in London.

Tens of thousands of supporters have welcomed his entourage as he’s traversed the country, catching the regime by surprise. The Museveni regime arrested Kyagulanyi today claiming the gatherings flout Covid19 guidelines permitting no more than 200 people at rallies. Dictator Museveni himself has been met by hundreds of followers—significantly smaller than Bobi Wine’s—yet he of course has not been arrested.

According to Kyagulanyi’s lawyer Robert Amsterdam, reports of at least eight dead people have reached the campaign. Separately, a Black Star News reporter saw three bodies in Iganga, a town to the east of Kampala, the capital, bringing the total to 11. The numbers may go up as information continues to flow in. Kyagulanyi was arrested Wednesday, as he prepared to speak in Luuka, about 80 miles north east of Kampala. The arrest led to spontaneous protests in many cities and towns across the country. The U.S. embassy in a tweet said, “The United States deplores the violence that has claimed multiple lives today, and we extend our sympathy to the victims’ families and loved ones..”

Kyagulanyi, a member of Parliament is the presidential flag-bearer for the National Unity Platform (NUP). He was brutally arrested alongside several journalists from different media organizations, including Ashiraf Kasirye from Ghetto TV, who was badly injured and remains in grave condition, and Samuel Balikowa who works with City FM radio. The journalist were assaulted by security agents who claimed they were interfering with the police duties. Eyewitness say the reporters were attacked to prevent them from relaying live coverage. Some cameras were destroyed. 

NTV, a subsidiary of Media TV Kenya, had its recording equipments seized while covering the protests in Kampala. Some journalists were beaten as they tried to take photos of Kyagulanyi’s arrest in Luuka district. 

Protests broke out in Masaka, 84 miles south west of the capital Kampala; Jinja, 63 miles east of Kampala; Hoima, 158 miles north west of Kampala; and, Gulu, 222 miles north of Kampala.  In Kampala, Sandi Mwanje, 35, a resident of Katwe was shot dead. Juma Sendagire, 27, a resident at Lusanja Kitezi, Amasi from Kubbiri, and an unidentified woman in her 30s were killed in Kampala. According to police, 34 people were seriously injured and remain in critical conditions.

Kyagulanyi was officially scheduled to campaign in the districts of Luuka, Kamuli and Buyende, according to the Electoral Commission.

"All along the NUP presidential candidate and his party members, sought to undermine the integrity of the Electoral Commission, by refusing to abide to a peaceful conduct of the campaigns,” claimed Fred Enanga, a police spokesperson. “His campaign trail from West Nile, to Acholi sub Region, Teso, Bugisu and Busoga, raised stakes for possible riots and public disorder.” He didn’t say if the Electoral Commission had complained.

Amsterdam, the lawyer, said in a tweet: "Shocking news out of Uganda!!! M7 goons using live ammo against protesters condemning extra-legal arrest of Bobi Wine!" He added, "Lawyers cannot reach Bobi due to widespread rioting and illegal police activity. Our people say 8 are dead at the hands of Police!"
Muwada Nkunyingi, one of Kyagulanyi’s lawyer, was denied access to him.

"A suspect detained in police custody is supposed to be allowed to meet his lawyers and immediate family," Nkunyingi, the lawyer said. "Hon Kyagulanyi is a presidential candidate, he need his lawyers for legal advice, but we're denied access to him. We don't know if he is really here or somewhere, basically he was kidnapped."

Dr. Kiiza Besigye, who many believe defeated Gen. Museveni in the last three elections stolen by the dictator said on twitter: "Media blackout of what’s been taking place in Kampala after arrest of presidential candidate Hon Kyagulanyi is very OMINOUS!" He added: "With several people confirmed dead & tension mounting, NBS TV is broadcasting LIVE M7’s campaign in Moroto; others quiet!"

The Alliance for National Transformation’s leader retired general Mugisha Muntu, in a tweet said: "We have decided to pause our presidential campaign activities until our colleagues, Hon. Kyagulanyi and Hon. Patrick Amuriat Oboi are released and their freedom to campaign guaranteed. We call upon government to recognize that this."

Meanwhile, presidential candidate representing the Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) Patrick Oboi Amuriat was also arrested and later released while campaigning in the city Gulu.

In London Ugandans protested outside Uganda House, the country’s High Commission to the U.K. in Trafalgar Square. "We call on the international community to hold the government of Uganda accountable for its violent operations and should monitor the election campaign process as there's uneven play field," said Atim Belinda, an NUP leader in London. "We call on the international community to publicly condemn government of Uganda's abuse of power as Museveni uses public services and resources to campaign."
She said countries that have supported the Museveni dictatorship like the U.S. and U.K. should suspend financial backing. "We call for the international community to withhold any funds that is destined for Uganda as its likely to get used for elections campaign,” she said.

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