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Police arrest Ugandan pop-star MP Bobi Wine, supporters teargassed2 minutes read

Police spokesman Fred Enanga confirmed that Wine and members of his entourage had been arrested.

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Police arrest Ugandan pop-star MP Bobi Wine, supporters teargassed
Singer turned politician Robert Kyagulanyi, also known as Bobi Wine. (Photo by SUMY SADURNI / AFP)

Singer-turned-politician Bobi Wine was on Monday arrested by the police as he sought to kick off public meetings ahead of presidential elections next year.

Many of his supporters were also sprayed teargas by policemen who tried to disperse the crowd in the capital, Kampala.

Wine, a popular figure among young Ugandans, announced last year he would challenge President Yoweri Museveni in the 2021 elections, and on Monday was scheduled to begin a week-long series of consultations ahead of the vote.

But the first event at a Catholic Church in his constituency in Kampala could not proceed as police deployed before dawn to the site, prompting protests by his supporters, a reporter said.

Protesters set alight car tyres and blocked roads, while police backed by firefighters, armoured cars and water cannon used teargas and rubber bullets to disperse the crowd.

Police spokesman Fred Enanga confirmed that Wine and members of his entourage had been arrested.

“We are temporarily holding them in our police station in Kasangati. We shall have to release them at some later stage but we are looking at charges of holding an unlawful assembly and disobedience of lawful orders,” Enanga told reporters.

Wine, whose real name is Robert Kyagulanyi, has already been detained a number of times.

He has had numerous attempts to hold concerts blocked since he was elected as an MP in 2017.

Enanga said Wine planned to exceed what is allowed under Uganda’s election laws by “going early and conducting campaigns” as opposed to holding “consultations.”

Under Uganda’s 2000 election law presidential “aspirants” may carry out “nationwide consultation” in the 12 months ahead of their official nomination as candidates. 

The law requires aspirants to “introduce” themselves to the Electoral Commission (EC) and notify local authorities of events planned in their area.

On December 3 Wine sent a letter to the EC officially introducing himself and outlining his plans, which he published on social media. 

In the past, the police have warned opposition politicians that all events must also comply with the Public Order Management Act 2013. 

Human Rights Watch has criticised that law as granting the police “wide discretionary powers over the content and management of public meetings.” 

Wine has built a sizeable following among Uganda’s booming urban youth population, many of whom say they are tired of Museveni’s long rule.

Museveni seized power at the head of a rebel army in 1986 and many observers say they doubt he will ever give up power through democratic elections. 

Veteran opposition leader Kizza Besigye may also run for the fifth consecutive time. 

In previous election rounds, police routinely blocked Besigye from holding political events. 

The authorities have charged both opposition leaders with various criminal offences which are entangled in Uganda’s judicial system.

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East Africa News

Nine airlifted from Mogadishu to Turkey following terrorist attack

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Nine people injured in a car bomb attack that occurred on Saturday in Afgoye, thirty kilometres north west of Somalia’s capital Mogadishu, were airlifted to Turkey on Tuesday morning for treatment. The airlift is the second medical evacuation of bomb attack victims in less than four weeks. Twenty one people were injured in the Afgoye attack that targeted Turkish construction workers who were having lunch with local police.

Turkey’s ambassador to Somalia, Mehmet Yilmaz confirmed that the nine to receive treatment in Turkey are three Turkish nationals and six Somalis. 

While speaking at a news conference in Mogadishu, he reiterated that his country would continue to support Somalia despite a spate of recent attacks by Islamist group… al-Shabaab. 

“This will not stop us from helping Somalia. We shall continue to work. Somalia and Turkey have good relations,” Yilmaz said.

A separate group of Turkish engineers constructing a road were among those hurt in a bombing that killed at least ninety people in December 2019.

On this matter, Somali Prime Minister, Hassan Ali Khaire, met with the Turkish ambassador to Somalia and other officials in Mogadishu. He assured of his government’s commitment to providing adequate security for Turkish nationals.

“We thank our Turkish brothers for their support. The Somali government will take any action necessary to ensure the security of Turkish nationals,” Hassan Ali Khaire said.

Turkey has been a major donor to the Horn of Africa nation since 2011. It is involved in various initiatives such as military training, infrastructure development of roads, hospitals and amenities as well as other donor efforts.

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U.S. conducts airstrike against al-Shabaab

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The U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM), in support of the Federal Government of Somalia, conducted an airstrike against al-Shabaab terrorists who engaged the Somali National Army, Danab Unit, near Bangeeni on Sunday, January 19. According to a statement from AFRICOM, the airstrike killed three militants.   

“This airstrike targeted al-Shabaab fighters who pose a direct, immediate, and significant threat to our partner forces,” said Maj. Gen. William Gayler, the director of operation, U.S. Africa Command. “Al-Shabaab consists of terrorists and criminals who seek to export hate and violence more broadly. We remain committed to supporting our Somali partners and the security progress; together we are building in the region.”   

The US military unit stationed in Africa aims to provide auxiliary support to the government of Somalia and the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) to increase security and seize ground from the al-Qaeda-aligned al-Shabaab.

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Aston Villa sign Tanzania captain Mbwana Samatta

27-year-old becomes first Tanzanian to play in the English Premier League

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English Premier league side Aston Villa have completed the signing of Tanzanian striker Mbwana Samatta for £10m on a four-and-half-year deal, subject to a work permit and international clearance.

The 27-year-old scored 10 goals for Genk in all competitions this season including a goal against Liverpool at Anfield in the UEFA Champions League group stage.

Villa manager Dean Smith hailed the signing “I’m really pleased we have managed to bring Mbwana to the club, he has scored goals throughout his career and I’m looking forward to working with him.”

Samatta makes history as the first Tanzanian to play in the Premier League but will be unavailable for Villa’s home match against Watford on Tuesday.

Samatta who is captain of the Tanzanian national side expressed his joy at making the move “I’m so excited, it’s a huge step for me in my career. It’s a big step for the country too. Everyone was looking for a Tanzanian to play in the Premier League.

“I know a lot about Aston Villa. I used to watch Gabby Agbonlahor when he was here.”

Samatta is Villa’s third signing of the January transfer window following loan signings of midfielder Danny Drinkwater from Chelsea and goalkeeper Pepe Reina from AC Milan.

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