Ugandan soldiers arrested over assault of Bobi Wine, other MPs
- Lawyers representing Bobi Wine and other detainees said they were been beaten and tortured - accusations the government has rejected as “rubbish”.
- Parliament Speaker Rebecca Kadaga then called for the arrest of security personnel involved.
- Parliamentary business was halted on Tuesday for a week to await an official response from the president about the beating of lawmakers.
Soldiers involved in the beating of Ugandan lawmakers including Bobi Wine and civilians over their alleged role in a stoning of President Yoweri Museveni’s convoy have been arrested.
Supporters of an independent candidate contesting a parliamentary by-election threw stones at Museveni’s motorcade on August 13 as he was leaving the town of Arua after campaigning for a ruling party candidate.
Bobi Wine was among dozens of people detained shortly afterwards on suspicion of taking part in the assault on the convoy.
Their lawyers and others have said the detainees have since been beaten and tortured – accusations the government has rejected as “rubbish”.
“We have apprehended all the (soldiers) who were involved in the incidents and they have been brought to book,” army spokesman Richard Karemire said.
He declined to identify the detained soldiers, say how many had been arrested or when their cases would be heard.
— #SayNoToXenophobia (@Ugaman01) August 27, 2018
In a letter to Museveni dated August 27, Parliament Speaker Rebecca Kadaga called for the arrest of security personnel involved in the suspected beating and torture of 33 people after their arrest over the convoy incident.
“I am concerned that no effort has been made to arrest the security officers from the (Special Forces Command), Military Police and Uganda Police Force who were involved in the violent actions against unarmed civilians,” Kadaga wrote.
“This is therefore to demand that the officers concerned be apprehended at the earliest opportunity and presented in court. The Uganda parliament will not condone or acquiesce in acts of torture.”
1. Bobi Wine was a leading Ugandan Afropop singer.
2. He refused to sing for Pres Museveni.
3. He won a seat in parliament.
4. Police shot & killed his driver thinking it was him.
5. They beat him so bad he can't walk. His wife called him "unrecognizable." https://t.co/uYB3p84M2V pic.twitter.com/asdX6dJZb7
— Kenneth Roth (@KenRoth) August 26, 2018
Deputy Speaker Jacob Oulanyah halted parliamentary business on Tuesday for a week to await an official response from the president about the beating of lawmakers.
The arrests sparked two days of anti-government protests in the capital Kampala and other towns last week.
Protesters and opposition supporters accuse Museveni, president of the East African country since 1986, of stifling dissent through intimidation, beatings and detentions, charges which his government denies.
On Monday a Ugandan High Court granted bail to all 33 people arrested over the stoning.
Presidential spokesman Don Wanyama could not confirm whether Kadaga’s letter had reached Museveni but said the issues it purportedly raised had been addressed.
“It was President Museveni who was the first to condemn the violence and shooting of civilians during and after (the by-election),” he said.
“He ordered the arrest of police officers who shot dead a civilian in Mityana Town,” Wanyama said, adding that the president would respond once he received the letter.
It was the second time Kadaga had written to Museveni demanding action over assaults on parliamentary deputies.
Last year when soldiers attached to Museveni’s office stormed parliament and beat up lawmakers during a debate on scrapping the presidential age limit, Kadaga protested to him over the incident, Ugandan media reported.
The presidential age limit has since been removed, opening the way for Museveni – now 74 – to seek re-election in 2021.
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