Bobi Wine, Uganda’s pop star MP, arrives in US for specialised treatment

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Kyaddondo East Member of Parliament Hon Robert Kyagulanyi better known as Bobi Wine says he has arrived in United States where he is expected to receive expert medical attention after sustaining injuries in the Arua Municipality by-election violence.

Bobi Wine was elected to parliament last year and has since built a large following among the youth who are excited by his scathing attacks on President Yoweri Museveni.

Protests erupted in the Ugandan capital of Kampala on Friday when police detained the pop star at the airport as he tried to leave the country.

In a brief note posted on his official social media handles, Bobi says;

“Dear friends from all corners of the world, after so many days of tribulations, I have safely arrived in the US where I’ll be receiving specialised treatment following the brutal torture at the hands of SFC soldiers,” he wrote on Saturday, referring to Uganda’s Special Forces Command.

“I will soon tell you what exactly happened to me since 13th August and what is next,” he said, referring to the day he was detained after being accused by authorities of being part of those who threw stones at a presidential convoy. He has pleaded not guilty to the charges.

Accompanied by wife Barbie Kyagulanyi, Bobi on Saturday night thanked the world for standing with him and his compatriots in these difficult days.

On allegations that he was beaten up and tortured while in detention, the Ugandan army has since denied claims of torturing Bobi, saying he could have sustained injuries from the violence in Arua.

“UPDF doesn’t torture,” said defence spokesperson Brig Richard Karemire recently.

Karemire said then the state of the MP needed to be ascertained by competent physicians but “could be as a result of the scuffles that ensued in those illegal processions.”

Karemire added: “Once you light a fire, you can never be too sure of how it will all end. Let our Honorable leaders exercise political discipline instead of some of them maligning Security Forces.”

Ugandan authorities who initially dismissed the allegations that Mr Kyagulanyi was beaten up in detention as “rubbish” and “fake news”, however on Friday a police spokesman said there would be an investigation into those allegations.

Mr Kyagulanyi, who has emerged as a formidable threat to the president who has been in power for 32 years, was charged with treason over his alleged role in the stoning of Mr Museveni’s convoy.

Mr Museveni has won praise in the West for his opposition to militant Islam in the region, but many Ugandans regard the 73-year-old as out of touch with his people, nearly 80 percent of whom are under the age of 30.

He has been in power since 1986 and has repeatedly been accused by his opponents of rights abuses and the widespread use of security forces to suppress opposition to his rule. He denies charges that his government is involved in rights violations.

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