1 Man Killed In Uganda After Clash Between Presidential Guards And Opposition Supporters

Aug 14, 2018
Originally published on August 14, 2018 8:15 pm
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MARY LOUISE KELLY, HOST:

Now to Uganda and a deadly clash between presidential guards and opposition supporters. One man was killed. A top opposition figure was detained. The police say this was all a plot to bring down the government. The opposition says this is all political. Here's NPR's Eyder Peralta.

EYDER PERALTA, BYLINE: Bobi Wine did not hide why he had come to a dusty town in northern Uganda.

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BOBI WINE: It is not a secret anymore.

PERALTA: The singer turned member of Parliament was there to support a fellow candidate in advance of by-elections on Wednesday, but he also has bigger aspirations.

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WINE: We are on a mission to remove Museveni from power.

(CHEERING)

PERALTA: That's President Yoweri Museveni, one of the longest-serving heads of state in Africa, known for crushing dissent violently. Bobi Wine called for his ouster. And as video posted by the singer on YouTube shows, he and his supporters then took to the streets by the thousands.

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UNIDENTIFIED CROWD: (Chanting) Our president, Bobi Wine. Our president, Bobi Wine.

PERALTA: What happened next is under dispute. Police say that group chanced upon the president's motorcade and began to throw stones. Security forces opened fire. And a stray bullet, the government says, killed Bobi Wine's driver. Police spokesman Emilian Kayima says they had no choice but to fire because the president's life was in danger. Here he is being interviewed by local station NBS.

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UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Was it a plot to assassinate the president?

EMILIAN KAYIMA: Attack on his motorcade, right? That is not very innocent.

PERALTA: Police raided the hotel rooms of journalists and politicians. They beat up a few and arrested more than 34 members of the opposition. Bobi Wine was detained this morning and taken to an unknown location. Andrew Tabz, his personal photographer, says supporters never attacked the president. He has no doubt this is a political crackdown. Bobi Wine has become a thorn on Museveni's side. He led huge protests against extending the president's rule, and more recently, he led protests against a new tax on social media.

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ANDREW TABZ: When they came to search the hotel, all they were asking for is, where is Bobi Wine?

PERALTA: Museveni's spokesman telegraphed that Bobi Wine may face a tough future. He retweeted a portion of the law that says the punishment for an attempt against the president is death. Eyder Peralta, NPR News, Nairobi. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.