Uganda’s prime opposition chief mentioned on Thursday that he was seized on the airport and put below home arrest following his return from overseas, a declare the authorities denied regardless of a historical past of crackdowns by the East African nation’s autocratic chief towards his prime challenger.
The opposition determine, Bobi Wine, mentioned males he didn’t know had grabbed him after he disembarked from his flight at Entebbe Worldwide Airport. They twisted his arms behind his again, he mentioned, and he was whisked into a close-by automotive, sandwiched between two males with weapons and pushed off.
Afterward, he was transferred to a van the place, he mentioned, a number of troopers sat on him and kicked his head with their boots. Mr. Wine was then pushed to his dwelling within the capital, Kampala, the place he mentioned dozens of safety officers had been already stationed inside and outdoors the compound.
“I’m alive, however I’m below home arrest,” Mr. Wine mentioned in a telephone interview on Thursday afternoon.
Uganda’s police drive denied that he had been arrested, saying that it had “efficiently escorted” Mr. Wine to his dwelling, the place he was with household and mates. “Disregard rumors of his arrest by propagandists,” the police drive mentioned in an announcement on X, the social media platform previously referred to as Twitter.
Mr. Wine, who was returning to Uganda after a two-week journey overseas, mentioned safety forces had crushed the gatekeeper and gardener at his dwelling, squeezing his genitals. The guard was taken to the hospital for therapy, he mentioned.
He additionally mentioned that 300 of his supporters, in addition to two dozen authorities officers from the opposition, together with journalists protecting his return, had been arrested within the capital and elsewhere. These figures couldn’t instantly be confirmed.
Mr. Wine mentioned safety forces had fired tear fuel and stay bullets to disperse supporters close to his dwelling. After turning on the digicam on his telephone, he pointed to a monitor from outside cameras that confirmed safety forces patrolling the streets round his dwelling, in addition to a number of police patrol pickup vehicles and jail vans.
“I’m surrounded by the army, and no one is allowed to go away and nobody is allowed to return,” he mentioned.
Safety forces additionally sealed off the places of work of Mr. Wine’s get together and barred individuals from coming into or leaving, in keeping with the get together’s secretary normal, David Lewis Rubongoya.
“The degrees of concern are unbelievable,” Mr. Rubongoya mentioned in a publish on X.
Mr. Wine, whose actual identify is Robert Kyagulanyi, rose in recent times to grow to be the most important challenger to the decades-long tenure of President Yoweri Museveni. A key Western ally, Mr. Museveni has ruled the landlocked nation with an iron grip since 1986, muzzling the press, jailing dissidents and successful six phrases in workplace by way of elections marred by allegations of fraud and rigging.
Mr. Wine’s lawyer, Bruce Afran, condemned the authorities’ actions on Thursday, saying they had been “designed to intrude with the essential proper of Ugandans to have interaction in political exercise, and to dam the opposition chief from assembly with the individuals of his nation.”
Mr. Wine’s declare of mistreatment comes because the Ugandan authorities faces widespread condemnation for enacting one in all the world’s most punitive anti-gay legal guidelines. America and the European Union have condemned the legislation, and the World Financial institution has halted any new funding to the nation.
Mr. Wine’s journey took him to Canada, america and South Africa. Apart from holding political rallies along with his supporters overseas, he additionally attended screenings of a brand new documentary referred to as “Bobi Wine: The Folks’s President.”
“They’re punishing me for the movie,” Mr. Wine mentioned when requested why he thought the federal government had positioned him below home arrest. “They’re punishing me for exposing them.”
On Thursday night, Mr. Wine mentioned that he was at dwelling along with his spouse, the activist Barbie Kyagulanyi, and that his household had been left in disarray.
He mentioned he had been wanting ahead to taking his 15-year-old daughter out for a birthday dinner. His 8-year-old daughter was feeling “traumatized” and confused, he mentioned. And his 13-year-old son was stranded at a roadblock and unable to get dwelling from faculty.
“He’s caught,” he mentioned. “I now have to barter to permit my son to return again dwelling.”
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