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Ugandan pop star Bobi Wine ‘in hiding after police raid’

Wine says officers swooped on him and his supporters before planned concert

Bobi Wine is a popular figure among many young people in Uganda
Bobi Wine is a popular figure among many young people in Uganda

The Ugandan pop star turned opposition MP Bobi Wine is in hiding after police raided a hotel he was staying in before a concert, his lawyer has said.

Wine, whose real name is Robert Kyagulanyi, had been due to perform at a concert in Jinja, about 50 miles east of the capital, Kampala, on Saturday night. However, he and his lawyer said police had launched a raid on his hotel, forcing him into hiding.

Wine “has been forced to seek refuge from an unlawful midnight raid by police which has seen many of his supporters and colleagues swept up and detained while others were reportedly beaten”, said a statement from his London-based lawyer Robert Amsterdam.

Wine said on Twitter on Saturday night that police had arrested some of his team. “So police has raided city hotel where we were resting ahead of the show tonight, arrested many of our team members. As we speak, the police is surrounding the entire neighborhood looking for me!” he wrote.

“They have beaten some of them, arrested & dragged them onto police pick-up cars and driven them to unknown destinations for no offence whatsoever.”

Amsterdam called the raid “a clear and brazen act of targeted political repression by the Uganda authorities aimed at violating Bobi Wine’s human rights”, and said the concert was “fully and legally permitted, and the other participating musicians were not targeted”.

Wine is among the most prominent critics of Uganda’s longtime president, Yoweri Museveni, and authorities have repeatedly blocked him from performing.

Bobi Wine Could be Headed For Death. His Lawyers Request for Better Medical Attention.

Last month a concert was allowed to go ahead only after Wine agreed with the police that it would be a non-political event.

Many of his songs address issues of social justice and he has called for Museveni, who has been in power for 32 years, to retire.

Wine was charged with treason in August, along with more than 30 opposition politicians, over the alleged stoning of Museveni’s convoy after a campaign rally in the north-western town of Arua.

During the campaign, Wine’s driver was shot dead when soldiers from the elite presidential guard raided the hotel in which he was staying.

The singer has also accused the security forces of torturing and beating him while in custody, and he received medical treatment in the US for the injuries he said he received. The authorities have denied the allegations.

Ugandan police have not released a statement on the event, and could not be reached for comment.

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