Bobi Wine: Presidential rival's arrest sparks deadly Uganda protests

In Summary

• The deaths occurred during security operations, police said in a statement, adding that a further 65 people had been injured and about 350 arrested.

• Bobi Wine has been accused of flouting coronavirus prevention guidelines against drawing large crowds following a campaign rally in the east of the country.

A supporter of presidential candidate Bobi Wine is detained in eastern Uganda
A supporter of presidential candidate Bobi Wine is detained in eastern Uganda
Image: REUTERS

Sixteen people have been killed in two days of protests in Uganda triggered by the arrest of musician-turned-presidential candidate Bobi Wine.

The deaths occurred during security operations, police said in a statement, adding that a further 65 people had been injured and about 350 arrested.

The cause of the deaths or the nature of the injuries was not disclosed.

 
 

Bobi Wine, real name Robert Kyagulanyi, was arrested on Wednesday for violating Covid restrictions, police said.

The 38-year-old has been accused of flouting coronavirus prevention guidelines against drawing large crowds following a campaign rally in the east of the country.

The young musician is among 11 candidates challenging President Yoweri Museveni, who has been in power since 1986.

The election will be held on 14 January next year.

On a second day of protests across the country, security forces fired tear gas and live bullets to disperse people in Uganda's capital, Kampala.

Demonstrators have been burning tyres and rubbish in the streets and blockading roads in the city. Businesses have closed and there is a heavy police presence.

Bobi Wine's Twitter account shows plainclothes men roaming the city, shooting into the air.

 
 

A government spokesman, Ofwono Opondo, said that police had responded appropriately. He blamed the protesters for not seeking more "peaceful methods" to raise and "resolve" their concerns using legal means.

Bobi Wine's supporters are calling for him to be released from police detention. He has not yet been charged.

Earlier this month, dozens of his supporters were arrested as they escorted him through the streets of Kampala when he was cleared by the electoral commission to run in next year's presidential election.

Since he expressed his presidential ambitions, police and the military have repeatedly dispersed his rallies, and beaten and detained his supporters.

Last year, he was charged with intending to "alarm, annoy or ridicule" the president. He was also charged with inciting violence after being accused of calling on his supporters to physically harm the president.

He has denied the allegations.