New Era

7 dead in Uganda protests after arrest of presidenti­al candidate


KAMPALA - Seven people died in violent protests that erupted in Kampala on Wednesday after Ugandan presidenti­al candidate Bobi Wine was arrested, police said.

Security forces clashed with supporters of the pop star-turned-opposition leader who is President Yoweri Museveni’s main opponent in presidenti­al elections on January 14.

“So far the dead are seven, as from late last evening. Those injured are 45,” police spokesman Fred Enanga told AFP on Tuesday.

The singer, whose real name is Robert Kyagulanyi, remained in police custody on Thursday for allegedly violating coronav i rus measures at his rallies.

Enanga said calm had returned to the capital “even after there were attempts by some gangs this morning to block roads by burning tyres and setting up barricades, which police stopped.”

The Red Cross said late Wednesday it had treated more than 30 people following “scuffles involving the police and the rioting masses”, including 11 people for gunshot wounds.

Wine ( 38) has long been a thorn in Museveni’s side, netting a widespread following through catchy pop songs about social justice and corruption.

Many young Ugandans see him as their champion in a country mired in poverty and youth unemployme­nt. Museveni, a 76-year-old former rebel who seized power in 1986, is one of Africa’s longest-serving leaders.

Wine has been repeatedly arrested - most recently on 3 November after he filed his candidacy for the elections - his concerts are routinely banned and his public rallies broken up with teargas.

The situation in Kampala remained tense early yesterday, with a constant military and police presence.

Rocks, burned tyres and other debris littered many streets in the city centre.

A group of Wine supporters remained camped outside Nalufenya prison in eastern Uganda where he was being detained.

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