GULU, UGANDA (NILE BROADCASTING SERVICES) – Ugandan police detained two lawmakers, including former pop star Robert Kyagulanyi, at the country’s sole international airport on Thursday (August 30), where supporters say they were trying to seek treatment abroad for injuries suffered while being tortured by the security forces.
Allegations that Kyagulanyi, also known as Bobi Wine, and Francis Zaake were tortured have triggered widespread protests in the capital Kampala and other parts of the country.
The two were among a group of five lawmakers that were detained on August 13 in Uganda’s northwestern town of Arua, accused of throwing stones at a presidential convoy during the campaign for a vacant seat in parliament.
Uganda’s President Yoweri Museveni, in power since 1986, has repeatedly been accused by his opponents of rights abuses and widespread use of security personnel to suppress opposition to his rule. He denies that his government carries out abuse.
Kyagulanyi in particular has emerged as a formidable threat to Museveni’s 32-year rule, winning popular support through his music and strong criticism of the government.
In the days after the lawmakers were detained, allied politicians and relatives said the two were tortured and both needed to be taken outside the country for specialised medical care.
Kyagulanyi, who has been charged with treason alongside several others for his role in the stoning incident, used crutches in court appearances and was transported in an ambulance at times. His supporters say he was beaten with a metal bar while in detention.