December 9, 2023

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Uganda: Opposition leader Bobi Wine arrested at the airport

Uganda: Opposition leader Bobi Wine arrested at the airport

Sumi Sadurny/AFP/Getty Images

Ugandan opposition leader Bobi Wine pictured at his home in 2021



CNN

Ugandan opposition leader Bobi Wine was arrested at Entebbe International Airport near the capital Kampala on Thursday while returning to the country, according to his National Unity Platform party.

The National Unity Platform (NUP) said in a social media post that Wine was “violently arrested upon his return to Uganda.” We have not yet determined his whereabouts.”

The party posted a video clip showing a number of men holding wine on the runway, while one of his companions repeatedly shouted: “Where are you taking him?”

CNN has contacted Ugandan police for comment.

Speaking to reporters outside his home later Thursday, Wine said he was under house arrest.

“As we speak now, I am under house arrest because my house is surrounded, you know, and soldiers and police are everywhere,” he said.

Wayne said that as soon as he landed at Entebbe International Airport, near the capital, Kampala, the “goons” grabbed him and put him in a “waiting private car” that was crowded with more than 15 people.

He said he was dragged into the car from the tarmac and the “goons” wrapped his arms.

“It was very humiliating and very uncomfortable, but I’m glad I got here,” he said.

The arrest appeared to be an attempt to stop a planned procession outside the airport by Wine’s supporters, with police issuing a warning ahead of its arrival urging them to cancel the march.

Wine, a pop star-turned-politician whose real name is Robert Kyagulanyi, was the opposition’s leading candidate in the January 2021 presidential election and lost to President Yoweri Museveni.

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Museveni claimed to have been re-elected for a sixth term despite widespread allegations of fraud and intimidation. Wine rejected the election results, saying he had evidence of fraud and intimidation.

On Thursday, as Wine returned to the country, the National Unity Platform also claimed that its headquarters was “under siege.”

His party also said on X, formerly known as Twitter, that military helicopters were filmed flying over Wine’s home in Magere, Uganda, adding that “security personnel have been deployed around the fence surrounding his home.”

Wine has faced several arrests by Ugandan security forces over the years, especially in the run-up to Uganda’s controversial elections.

He previously told CNN in a 2021 interview that his life was in danger in the country.

As he prepared to return to Uganda, Wine posted on social media in the early hours of Thursday saying: “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil for the Lord is with me – Psalm 23.” :4. I’m coming home!

The Uganda Police Force issued a statement on Wednesday saying they had received information about a planned procession starting at Entebbe International Airport on Thursday, with the participation of “a group of political activists associated with the National Unity Platform (NUP).”

Police urged organizers to cancel the march to avoid disrupting traffic and risk attracting “criminal activities, and posing risks to pedestrians, motorists, passengers and businesses through acts of theft or other criminal activity.”

“We also advise members of the public who may have been mobilized to refrain from participating in these illegal activities,” the police statement issued on Wednesday said.

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He added, “The security services will take all necessary measures to ensure that individuals involved in illegal activities are arrested and brought before the courts.”