Posted November 20, 2020 5:28 pm by

28 die in violent start to Uganda’s election season

Violence erupted after the arrest of opposition leader Bobi Wine, President Yoweri Museveni’s main opponent in January’s election © AFP / Badru KATUMBA

Kampala, Uganda, Nov 20 – At least twenty-eight people died in violent clashes between Ugandan security forces and supporters of a detained opposition presidential candidate this week, marking a particularly violent start to the country’s election season.

Two days of protests were sparked by the arrest of Bobi Wine ahead of a political rally in support of his bid for the presidency in January 14’s election.

Dozens died and hundreds were arrested as tyres were burned and police responded to hurled rocks with teargas, rubber bullets and live rounds in the capital Kampala and other towns.

On Friday, there was a heavy police and army presence in Kampala with roadblocks and security checks, after protests turned to looting and robberies the evening before.

“We would like to inform the public that a total of 28 people have died following the violent political demonstrations, in multiple areas,” police spokesman Fred Enanga told a press conference.

Enanga claimed the protests were “part of a loosely coordinated campaign” and not spontaneous, adding that bows and arrows, as well as bottles, tyres and fuel for incendiary devices had been found.

“All indicators reveal these were not just impromptu actions,” he said.

Enanga added that 375 people had been arrested with some suspects due to appear in court Friday, Wine among them.

– Calls for release –

The violence has raised fears and attracted condemnation.

28 die in violent start to Uganda’s election season

Wine supporters take cover from tear gas shot by police at the Kampala rally © AFP / STRINGER

“The increasing spate of violence so early in the campaign season does not bode well for the weeks to come before the elections,” said Oryem Nyeko, Africa researcher at Human Rights Watch.

The rights group called for Wine’s release and for security forces to “respect the rights of people to peacefully protest his detention”.

In New York, UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric on Thursday also called for Wine’s release.

“We call for the immediate release of the detained opposition leaders, including Bobi Wine, and it’s important that security forces act in a way that respects human rights principles and the rule of law in dealing with protesters.”

The US embassy said it deplored the violence and extended its sympathy to the victims and their families.

“We urge all parties to renounce violence, undertake Read More…28 die in violent start to Uganda’s election season  28 die in violent start to Uganda’s election season  28 die in violent start to Uganda’s election season  28 die in violent start to Uganda’s election season